Not the numbers seen this year
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - July 22, 2019 - 12:00am

More than 5,000 new cases of dengue in just one week. More than 400 have died from dengue this year. More than 115,000 cases have been recorded this year, nearly double compared to 2018. These are the numbers provided by the DOH that only recently declared a national dengue alert. Dengue cases are expected to rise during the months of July up to September due to the annual rainy season. But not the numbers seen this year.

Last May, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Dengvaxia but with strict limitations. It allowed the vaccine to be applied to those aged nine to 16 years old, with a previous history of dengue infection confirmed by a positive laboratory result and living in endemic areas such as Perto Rico and American Samoa. The FDA obviously followed the belated conditions of Sanofi Pasteur but narrowed the age of recipients. Dengvaxia can be given to those aged from nine to 45 years old.

We will never know if Dengvaxia could have helped stem the rise and spread of dengue in the country because of its pullout from the market due to accusations that those who received the vaccine died of severe dengue complications.

The previous administration adopted the use of Dengvaxia in its vaccination program before Sanofi’s warning. At present, there is no evidence that the vaccine directly caused those deaths as claimed by the relatives who, with the help of certain personalities, filed lawsuits left and right.

Sanofi also warned other countries about the use of Dengvaxia on those who were not positive for previous dengue infection who simply followed the prescribed restrictions. The vaccine was neither banned nor pulled put from their markets. Only in the Philippines. The DOH did not mention if Dengvaxia was given to any of the more than 400 deaths due to dengue this year.

I am not defending Sanofi. I believe the belated warning regarding those with or without a previous dengue infection may have placed the more than 800,000 children who received it as part of the past administration’s vaccination program at some risk.

The past administration had good intentions since they had no idea about Sanofi’s late conditions in administering the vaccine. I only wish the situation was handled differently by the legal and health personalities as well as politicians, and even some doctors when Sanofi Pasteur released their late warning. The whole thing was obviously politicized and played to the hilt.

The situation could have been handled by stepping back and without the histrionics. The deaths allegedly caused by the vaccine should have been investigated thoroughly by objective forensic experts and medical professionals. I believe there have been no more reports of deaths caused by the vaccine given to more than 800,000 children. Let’s hope it stays that way as we still have six months to go.

DENGUE
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