Philippine Dengue Vaccine Program Halted

“Philippine Dengue Vaccine Program Halted.” Why? The vaccine is effective for people who have had dengue prior to immunization. However, it carries a risk of a “severe” case of dengue for people who have not.

Dengue Vaccine Poses Serious Risks

Wait a minute. How did that happen?  You mean to tell me that 10% of the over 700,000 school children who received the dengue vaccine are now at risk? Yep.

The previous Liberal Party administration plunked down 3.5-billion pesos for the dengue vaccine supplied by Sanofi Pasteur of France.

Here’s the rub: Sanofi admitted last week that the Dengvaxia vaccine posed risks to those who had never been infected by the disease.

Garin Rushes Vaccine Approval

Despite warnings from Senator Richard Gordon, Former Health Secretary Janette Garin pushed through the vaccine program. The process only took four months. However, such projects usually take up to two years to approve.

The Philippines became the first Asian country to approve this vaccine for individuals aged 9 to 45 years old in December 2015.

The Department of Health, DoH, did not conduct tests to determine if those immunized already had a history of dengue. Therefore, it has no record as to who would be affected by the risk posed by the vaccine.

The Manila Standard reports that Garin is now under investigation. The Health department was properly warned about the possible effects of the first dengue vaccine. The DOH still approved the program under Garin’s leadership.

Philippine Dengue Vaccine Program Halted

Department of Health, DoH, Secretary Francisco Duque III has ordered the suspension of the vaccination program.  Duque is awaiting a recommendation on further action from experts at the World Health Organization.

Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption had earlier urged the DoJ to investigate the case.

The group calls the immunization program “worse than any heinous crime.”

The organization has called on the DoH to set up help desks to receive complaints from concerned parents. It also vowed to help them seek compensation for the families whose children may have received potentially risky anti-dengue shots.

Duque assured the public that the vaccine will in any case provide a 30-month protection period against dengue. He also proclaims that the DoH is on top of the situation.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque vows “We will leave no stone unturned in making those responsible for this shameless public health scam which puts hundreds of thousands of young lives at risk accountable.”