“We call for a halt to the continuous spread of unproven claims of deaths caused by the dengue vaccine by the same unqualified but noisy people, who are largely responsible for the fall in vaccine confidence in the country,” the Doctors for Truth said in a statement.
Edd Gumban/File
Doctors warn of ‘epic’ disease epidemic
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - December 17, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A group of doctors has warned against outbreaks of potentially deadly diseases in “epic proportion” unless the lingering effects of the Dengvaxia scare is finally stopped.

Doctors for Truth and Public Welfare said fear-mongering persons should be stopped from spreading unproven claims that has led to a drastic drop in vaccine confidence in the country.

“We call for a halt to the continuous spread of unproven claims of deaths caused by the dengue vaccine by the same unqualified but noisy people, who are largely responsible for the fall in vaccine confidence in the country,” the Doctors for Truth said in a statement.

The group named in particular Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta and its forensic laboratory director Erwin Erfe for making irresponsible statements that negatively impacted on vaccine confidence in the country.

“Indeed, Dr. Erfe and Atty. Acosta should be held accountable for the thousands of disabilities and deaths that could have been, and could yet be, avoided were it not for their irresponsible behavior,” the group said.

If not stopped, the group said, unproven claims made by both Acosta and Erfe will cause more children to suffer and die.

“Because of the fear mongering and misinformation that has been allowed to propagate in little over a year, we may be headed for epidemics of epic proportion of otherwise preventable diseases,” said the group further warned.

Sought for comment, Acosta said the “only issue is the ex- perimental Dengvaxia and not other proven vaccine.”

“It is the duty of DOH (Department of Health) to campaign for other old vaccines which are no longer under clinical trial... Low measles vaccine turn-out since 2015, why didn’t they buy three billion measles vaccines in 2015?” she asked.

Erfe said the “increasing number of deaths of Dengvaxia vaccinees, now numbering hundreds, are real – the result of a criminal act perpetrated by doctors of DOH.”

“The PAO forensic team had autopsied 105 of those who died of Dengvaxia – they all manifested a ‘Dengvaxia death pattern.’ They all showed what Sanofi had admitted – that its vaccine can cause deadly adverse effects of viscerotropism, neurotropism, severe dengue and anaphylactic reaction,” Erfe told The STAR.

According to the doctors, vaccine confidence in the country has already dropped to only 32 percent in 2018 from a high 93 percent in 2015.

As a result of the massive drop in vaccine confidence, they said cases of measles and rubella nationwide rose by 374 percent to a total of 18,026 in the first 11 months of the year.

“If this trend continues, then we may find ourselves faced with outbreaks of debilitating and life-threatening diseases that we have already been able to control through our vaccination programs,” the group added.

The doctors said they were compelled to speak out as they have seen the damage to public health brought about by the dissemination of false information.

Early last week, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that cases of measles ballooned to 18,026 this year from last year’s 3,804 cases. This year’s number, which is only from Jan. 1 to Nov. 17, already resulted in 164 deaths.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) accounted for the highest number of measles and rubella cases with 4,145, followed by the National Capital Region with 2,785.

Except for the Cordilleras, all regions in the country recorded an increase in cases. A total of 141 cases have been recorded in the Cordilleras this year, or a difference of 47 from 188 in 2017.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo had attributed the continuing increase in measles cases to the people’s refusal to have themselves and their children vaccinated. He hoped the trend would be reversed next year.

The confirmed measles cases now total 3,793 with Metro Manila accounting for the highest number of confirmed measles cases at 739, followed by ARMM with 605. – With Romina Cabrera

DENGVAXIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DISEASE EPIDEMIC
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