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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, December 4, 2017
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

When a vaccine
could worsen

Ninfa Leonardia How do we solve a problem like the dengue vaccine? Today, after thousands of schoolchildren may have been inoculated against the disease, the truth comes out that the shots are actually dangerous, especially for those who have not been exposed to the disease before. The Health Department has ordered a stop to the vaccinations of schoolchildren, but what about those who had already gone through it? Is there any antidote? How can the feared effect be reversed?

***

For several months we have seen health officials going to schools and inoculating children. Photos, probably from the Health Department itself, always got published, perhaps to encourage more to undergo the shots supposed to immunize them against dengue. And what about the P3.5 Billion that our government has spent for the program? It has been reported that the pharmaceutical firm that produces the vaccine, has admitted that it could worsen the effects of dengue on those who have not been exposed to it. So why did they promote it as a vaccine?

***

When we were children in the elementary grades, and even in high school, my father never allowed us to undergo vaccinations, whatever they were meant to prevent. He would write our teachers about this so we were not subjected to them, to the envy of our classmates. I remember that my sister and brothers sometimes felt sort of “deprived” as our schoolmates would scare us with stories about what could happen to those who were not immunized. But we all survived, and the worst ailments we went through were chicken pox and measles, which had no vaccines against them then.

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Now some finger-pointing is going on because this is supposed to have been started during the past administration of President Noynoy Aquino. But surely it would not have been pursued if the incumbent ones did not approve of it. But what if a dengue epidemic had struck this year? It could have been blamed on the implementation of the project. All we can do now is pray that no dengue cases crop up in big numbers, and they can be dealt with successfully. By the way, can we not demand a refund of our P3.5 million from the Sanofi Pasteur company?

***

Well, well! The country that is believed to be the original inventors of fireworks has declared a ban against it! Beijing has been reported to have prohibited the use of the holiday entertainer even during the season's celebration. Manufacturers are understandably worried, as they may already have produced tons of them before the ban was announced. But the administration has reason, and that is the prevention of pollution. They have not mentioned other dangers like the blowing up of arms, hands and even faces that we see here during the holiday. Maybe the ones used locally there are safer?

***

And isn't it true that a lot of the big bangs and the most colorful ones we have here come from China? Maybe the ones that maim people are those manufactured by non-experts in our towns and cities. Think of the hundreds of cases of injuries reported on all the media especially the day after New Year's Eve. And even accidents occurring in the factories of such noisemakers. I hope this will encourage our cities, towns and barangays to put up only fireworks displays and not dangerous booming ones. People will enjoy them more, and risk less dangers as well.

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Now they tells us. The Department of Justice has announced that the time spent by persons who are facing charges and are allowed hospital or house arrest cannot enjoy the privilege of having the time spent in them counted as part of their detention if found guilty and sentenced . So what about Former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and others like her? Lucky GMA, or former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, she hid in the Veterans Memorial Hospital for some three years, but was eventually, acquitted, so, no problem there. But what about Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile? Does being kept in Crame counted? Oh, Estrada has been allowed to get out, like Enrile, what about Revilla?

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But it is good to hear that 90 percent of the country's local government units are handling their finances well. And we are proud to note that the Western Visayas, where we belong, got 97 percent in “good financial housekeeping standards” with 135 of our 139 LGUs meeting the standards set. And we can thumb our noses at the Big Ones, like in Metro Manila where Manila and Muntinglupa City did not make it to the passing list.*

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