DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 January) – The Department of Health (DOH) – 11 is closely monitoring around 200 children in Davao Region who had been vaccinated with the controversial Dengvaxia produced by Sanofi Pasteur, a French pharmaceutical giant.
But Cleo Fe M. Tabada, head of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) of DOH 11, told reporters on Thursday that the number may still grow because most private doctors have yet to heed the agency’s call last December 2017 to submit a list of their patients who had been injected with the vaccine.
Last year, she said they wrote a letter to the Philippine Pediatric Society in the city to encourage its members to send the list to DOH 11 but only some doctors have complied while the reports from the 10 big hospitals in the region have yet to be finalized.
She said they also urge the parents to immediately submit their children to the hospitals for proper monitoring but added no Dengvaxia-related dengue cases have been reported so far in the region.
Tabada said Davao Region was not among the regions identified by the DOH as the pilot areas of vaccination such as the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, Central Luzon and Central Visayas, which reported high cases of dengue.
However, private doctors in the region may still administer Dengvaxia to their patients.
DOH 11 urged parents to immediately bring their children vaccinated with Dengvaxia to a health center or hospital if they show dengue symptoms such as fever, headache, rashes and body pains, to prevent their condition from worsening.
A briefer from DOH-11 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 a 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, Dengvaxia is 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.”
In other areas of the country, some parents whose children contracted dengue and died despite having been injected with Dengvaxia have contemplated filing charges against officials who were responsible for the vaccination. They blamed the death of their children on the vaccine. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)