Philippines government investigates Dengvaxia dengue vaccine

Dr. Jaime Bernadas DOH-Central Visayas director

Dr. Jaime Bernadas DOH-Central Visayas director

On Monday, there were reports that the Philippine Justice Department had ordered an investigation into the government-mandated vaccination of more than 730,000 children over new evidence received from the French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi.

The order comes days after the Southeast Asian nation suspended a government program to immunize hundreds of thousands of children with Dengvaxia following Sanofi's findings released last week.

The company, which is under fire in various countries, including the Philippines and Brazil over the vaccine, however, said "supplementary analysis confirmed (its) significant and persistent beneficial value" in people with a prior history of dengue infection before vaccination.

The Philippines has suspended the sale and distribution of the Dengue Tetravalent Vaccine, the drug locally registered as Dengvaxia, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday.

On the impact of issues surrounding the vaccine in Brazil and the Philippines, the spokesperson said, "Sanofi Pasteur has taken action to transparently share this new data with the health authorities in the countries where the vaccine is in use today or where it is now being considered for regulatory approval".

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called on the public to partake in the "post-marketing surveillance of Dengvaxia" by reporting any incident that shows the dengue vaccine has led to death, serious illness, or injury of a patient.

"In this group, all fully recovered with proper medical treatment".

Whether ongoing investigations will hold certain former officials liable for the mess, attention must be focused on any adverse effects that might be suffered by children with no history of dengue who have received the vaccine. "Currently, the decision to approve the Sanofi Pasteur dengue vaccine in India is under review", the spokesperson added.

The World Health Organization would review safety data on Dengvaxia by the end of December 2017.

"The WHO position paper did not include a recommendation to countries to introduce the dengue vaccine into their national immunization programs".

One 12-year old girl in Tarlac province, north of the capital Manila, who completed the three-dose vaccine treatment, showed symptoms of severe dengue, Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo told Reuters by phone.

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