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WHO to release report on Phl dengue vaccine program

The Department of Education (DepEd) will coordinate with the DOH to monitor the 733,713 school children who were injected with Dengvaxia since last year, the agency said in a statement. AFP, File

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization is preparing a new position paper to address the dengue vaccine controversy in the Philippines.

Gundo Aurel Weiler, WHO country representative, said at the resumption of the Senate probe on the Dengvaxia controversy the global organization is "seeking, mobilizing its expert committees, in seeking advice from them" on the vaccination program.

Two groups composed of experts are looking at the data in the Philippines.

One group, according to Weiler, is the global advisory committee on vaccine safety. He said the group reviewed the data last week, and "has published a statement on interpretation of data as of last night."

Weiler said that there is a second group of experts on immunization.

The group will look into scenarios surrounding the controversy: "What happened to those vaccinated, those who were not vaccinated, those who only had one dose, compared to those who had three."

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Weiler said that the WHO is waiting for the recommendation from its two expert groups to "support the Department of Health in making the best decision on how to take this forward."

The Senate's blue ribbon and Health committees continued their probe on Thursday morning. Among the resource speakers in attendance are former President Benigno Aquino III, former Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa, and former Budget Secretary Butch Abad.

The Department of Health suspended its dengue vaccination program following a disclosure from Sanofi Pasteur that patients not previously infected with dengue risk getting "severe" dengue if infected after vaccination.

Aquino approved the vaccination program, which started in April 2016. Under the program, the DOH gave free vaccines to children, nine years old and above, from public schools in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and the Calabarzon region.

READ: Duque: Aquino should attend Senate probe on Dengvaxia

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