OFFICIALS of the Department of Health (DOH) in Region 11 Friday assured Dabawenyos that no government hospital and health center has administered the highly controversial Dengvaxia vaccine against dengue on any child in Davao City and other parts of the Davao area.
Dr. Annabelle Yumang, DOH-11 assistant regional director, told reporters covering “Connect,” a health and sciences media forum, that Davao City was not included in the distribution of the controversial vaccine during the nationwide dengue immunization campaign.
Dr. Yumang said that the Davao Region was not one of the pilot areas of the country’s first public dengue immunization program started during the Aquino administration.
However, while DOH has no doubt that the government hospitals and health centers were not involved in Dengvaxia vaccination, it is not sure about the private hospitals and clinics.
This is why the DOH is checking the private sector whether it had been administering Dengvaxia shots, Dr. Yuman said.
“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,” said Yumang.
Yumang said they still need to determine the actual number of patients who received Dengvaxia shots with by private hospitals and doctors so they can monitor their condition.
“We still don’t have the records of the private sectors or the private physicians who have vaccinated with Dengvaxia, and we currently requesting private doctors and medical societies such as the Davao Medical Society and Philippine Pediatric Society Davao chapter to submit a list of children they have vaccinated with Dengvaxia” she said.
According to Yumang, the DOH already sent letters to the private health sectors starting Friday asking to send their own list of children vaccinated with Dengvaxia if they have, to assure that these children will be closely monitored by DOH 11.
Yumang also encouragedd parents to immediately bring their children who have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia to the health centers or hospitals if they see dengue symptoms starting to show such as fever, headache, rashes and body pains to prevent their condition from progressing to severe levels.
Yumag explained that Dengvaxia, which was manufactured by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur was procured during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III. It is the first vaccine to be licensed in the world for the prevention of dengue. The vaccine has been granted marketing authorization in 2015 by Mexico.
Based on the information obtained by DOH 11 from Sanofi Pasteur, the new analysis evaluated long-term safety and efficacy of Dengvaxia in people who had been infected with dengue prior to vaccination and those who had not. The analysis confirmed that Dengvaxia provides persistent protective benefit against dengue fever in those who had prior infection. For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection.
A statement from the Department of Health Office of the Secretary that on November 29, the DOH received a preliminary briefing on update information on the dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, from Sanofi Pastuer. Based on the report, the dengue vaccine has shown consistent and sustained benefit for those who were previously infected with the dengue virus.
In the light of this new analysis, the DOH will place the dengue vaccination program on hold while review and consultation is going on with experts, key holders and the World Health Organization.
On the same information revealed that the vaccination is essential to the integrated approach in dengue prevention and control. Currently, there is no reported case of severe dengue infection among those who received the vaccine.
“The DOH assures the public that it is serious in carrying out its mandate to always guard the health and well-being of its constituents. Thus, it shall ensure that vaccine are always safe and effective to optimize its health benefits,” Heath Secretary Francisco T. Duque III was quoted to have said last Friday.