DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 Dec) – The Department of Health (DOH) 11 has asked doctors and private hospitals here to submit a list of patients who received Dengvaxia shots in the Davao Region.
Dr. Annabelle Yumang, DOH-11 assistant regional director, told “Connect” media forum here Friday that the agency did not distribute the controversial vaccine in the region as it was not among those with the highest number of patients.
However, she said they still need to determine the actual number of patients who were administered with Dengvaxia by private hospitals and doctors so they can monitor their condition.
Yumang said children in other regions such as in identified pilot areas – National Capital Region, Calabarzon, Central Luzon and Central Visayas – have been placed under surveillance.
Data from DOH-11 show there were 3,267 reported cases of dengue since the start of the year until Nov. 25, which decreased by 71.38 percent compared with the 11,417 reported cases in the same period last year.
Yumang urged parents to immediately bring their children vaccinated with Dengvaxia to the health centers or hospitals if they see dengue symptoms starting to manifest – such as fever, headache, rashes and body pains – to prevent their condition from progressing to severe levels.
A briefer from DOH-11 released Friday said the department received a preliminary briefing on updated information on the dengue vaccine from its manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, a French pharmaceutical giant, on Nov. 29.
It said the vaccine has “shown consistent and sustained benefit for those who were previously infected with the dengue virus” and can give the patient immunity from severe illness for at least 30 months.
“In the longer term, severe cases may occur following a subsequent dengue infection among those who were not previously infected,” it said.
It added that the department has already put on hold the dengue vaccination program while review is being undertaken by experts, key stakeholders and the World Health Organization (WHO).
It said dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever are acute viral infections that affect infants, young children and adults.
According to WHO, the Dengvaxia was the first dengue vaccine, which was first registered in Mexico in December 2015.
It added that the vaccine “is a live recombinant tetravalent dengue vaccine that has been evaluated as a 3-dose series on a 0/6/12 month schedule in Phase III clinical studies. It has been registered for use in individuals 9-45 years of age living in endemic areas.”
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque added the Food and Drug Administration has already suspended the sale and distribution of Dengvaxia.
He added that the Department of Justice commenced its investigation into the Dengvaxia, including even former President President Benigno S. Aquino in the investigation.
“We would like to assure the public that we’re not taking the Dengvaxia issue sitting down. And that if there are people or there will be culprits and if it is proven that there’s a cause of action against them then this administration will not hesitate to use the full force of the law against them,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)