Palace open to resuming Dengvaxia use

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace open to resuming Dengvaxia use
President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address at Congress in Manila on July 22, 2019.
Noel Celis / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is open to making the Dengvaxia vaccine available again if experts declare it to be effective in addressing the rising cases of dengue fever in the country. 

Former health secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin has asked the Duterte administration to revive the Dengvaxia vaccination program, saying the vaccine would have prevented the dengue outbreak in some provinces. 

READ: How the Dengvaxia scare helped erode decades of public trust in vaccines

Garin said the vaccination program, which was launched while she was health chief, intended to cut dengue-related hospitalization by 80 percent and to reduce the severe cases by 93%. 

"If the weight of findings show that there is benefit using Dengvaxia against dengue, then certainly the government should consider it," presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a chance interview Wednesday. 

"We're always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people. We're not closed to any suggestion," he added. 

READ: Beyond the Dengvaxia scare: Complacency, devolution of health system also account for measles outbreak

Panelo said the proposal to resume the vaccine program has to be discussed "thoroughly" and "extensively." 

"We need experts to support any call for the return of Dengvaxia," the presidential spokesman said. 

The Duterte administration stopped the P3.5 billion vaccination program after its manufacturer French company Sanofi released a study stating that Dengvaxia could increase the health risks of those who have yet to be infected by dengue. Garin is one of the officials facing charges over the deaths of children who were given the vaccine. 

The health department has recorded more than 106,000 cases of dengue fever this year. 

READ: Breakthrough technique eradicates Zika and dengue-carrying mosquitoes — study

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