PAMPANGA 3rd district Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. is proposing to use the refund made by French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) as a hospital fund for children who were inoculated with Dengvaxia.

The PCMC had issued a check for P1.16 billion, the amount of the refund, in favor of the Department of Health (DOH), which deposited it in the general fund.

Under his proposed House Joint Resolution No. 20, Gonzales said the current budget of the DOH is insufficient to cover the expenses related to the extensive monitoring and hospitalization of more than 873,000 children vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

The lawmaker added that despite the extensive monitoring of the DOH and the existing coverage provided by PhilHealth, some parents still worry about the welfare of their children.

Gonzales added that to ease the worries of parents, there is a need for the government to use the amount refunded and allocate the same to the PhilHealth to be used exclusively for those children vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

The funds are expected to be used for all expenses incurred by in-patient and outpatient consultations, including laboratory tests, x-rays and medicines.

The funding is also expected to cover the autopsy of the remains of those suspected of having died from Dengvaxia immunization.

Dengvaxia, which is manufactured by Sanofi, is the world’s first dengue vaccine.

The DOH, however, suspended the anti-dengue vaccination program after Sanofi revealed that the vaccine could cause severe dengue in individuals who have not contracted the mosquito-borne dengue fever prior to immunization.