Informative investigation
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - December 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

Return the money for unused Dengvaxia vaccines. This is what the DOH plans to demand from Sanofi Pasteur, because of the suspension of the Dengvaxia program for children brought about by Sanofi’s recent release that those who have been vaccinated but have not been exposed to the virus may have “more severe” dengue symptoms when they get sick. More than a billion pesos worth of the vaccine has not been used, which will expire by the middle of next year. The government also plans to sue Sanofi because of the risk that more than 700,000 children now have now been exposed to because of the administration of the vaccine.

Many are already washing their hands of this issue. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) is denying that they have approved the use of Dengvaxia for national immunization programs. According to the WHO, the DOH was already implementing the use of Dengvaxia before they came out with guidelines as to their use. But why did 11 countries start using Dengvaxia as well, if the WHO did not totally approve the vaccine? Brazil has yet to suspend the use of Dengvaxia in spite of Sanofi Pasteur’s caveat on its use.

The investigation on the whole mess will begin on Monday. Many have to explain what happened before the vaccination was implemented in a national immunization program. The issue has already been politicized by the usual players, all screaming for blood. Documents and witnesses are being prepared against former DOH officials, which should include officials of the current DOH which continued to use the vaccine, until Sanofi released their warning. I’m certain the public wants an informative investigation, along with information and assurances regarding the vaccine, and not another witch hunt.

It is also necessary to verify the alleged deaths of children after being giving Dengvaxia. Is it vaccine-related, or did they have pre-existing conditions that led to their demise? The information itself must be verified.

The WHO has started its own inquiry regarding Dengvaxia. They should still explain why Dengvaxia has been released on the market, which has been accepted by 11 countries. If the risks outweigh the benefits, why even approve its use? It is also good to get information from these 11 countries, if there are any adverse effects of Dengvaxia on those given the vaccine. Have they also suspended their respective programs, or have they stopped the sale of the vaccine altogether?

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