DOH not resuming Dengvaxia program

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
DOH not resuming Dengvaxia program
DOH has lost trust not only in the Dengvaxia vaccine, but also in manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur.

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is unlikely to resume the anti-dengue immunization campaign using the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine even if the drug provides protection to people who have been previously infected with the mosquito-borne disease.

In an interview over the One News program “The Chiefs,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the DOH has lost trust not only in the Dengvaxia vaccine, but also in manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur.

“The problem is that we have lost trust in this Dengvaxia. We have to fix a lot of things here, even Sanofi has to be held accountable,” Duque pointed out.

According to Duque, they stopped the dengue immunization campaign not only because Dengvaxia could lead to severe dengue, but also “because Sanofi has been very irregular in its reporting of their risk management surveillance.”

Duque noted that Sanofi failed to report the adverse events as part of their commitment to the risk management plan before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the certificate of product registration to the firm.

According to Duque, the DOH and the Office of Solicitor General are already building up a case against Sanofi.

The health chief further cited results of a US study showing that Dengvaxia provided protection and prevented 1,000 dengue cases, but the immunization also resulted in 500 incidents of severe dengue.

“The objective here is to highlight that the benefits outweigh the risks,” Duque pointed out.

Before vaccinating children with Dengvaxia, Duque said there is a need to establish if they have previously been infected with dengue.

However, the test to determine if a child had such previous infection is not yet available in the country.

The Public Attorney’s Office has implicated Duque in the Dengvaxia controversy and filed charges against him.

He dismissed the complaint as “malicious, libelous and baseless.”

Duque said he did not immediately stop the implementation of the dengue immunization program because he assumed that it is being done with regularity.

The dengue controversy, Duque said, has adversely affected the government’s immunization program.

He said the DOH recorded only a 20-percent measles immunization rate, causing a surge in cases of the infectious illness because parents do not want to bring their children for immunization.

To address the problem, Duque said, the DOH has stepped up its marketing campaign to restore public trust in other immunization programs of the government.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel yesterday urged Sanofi Pasteur to admit its mistake in prematurely and recklessly hawking its controversial anti-dengue vaccine to the government.

He made the appeal after The New England Journal of Medicine published on Wednesday a study confirming that children who never had dengue infection but were inoculated with Dengvaxia had an increased risk of hospitalization and a severe case of dengue if they are infected with the virus.

Sanofi itself warned the DOH of this possibility in November last year, prompting Duque to stop the dengue vaccination program in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and Cebu. – With Jess Diaz

vuukle comment





  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with