VACC wants Health Department to admit Dengvaxia poses a health risk

  • A nurse displays vials of Sanofi’s dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, which have been recalled from local health centers, in the district of Manila on December 5, 2017, following the suspension of the country’s public dengue immunisation programme. Philippines has suspended the sale and distribution of Sanofi’s dengue vaccine, authorities said on December 5, after the French pharmaceutical giant last week warned it could worsen symptoms for people who had not previously been infected. / AFP PHOTO / Ted ALJIBE

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) has called on the Department of Health to accept the fact that anti-dengue Dengvaxia vaccine poses a serious health risk to people inoculated with the vaccine, The Manila Times Online reported on Jan 1.

VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez said that Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd was in denial as far as the vaccine issue was concerned.  He called on the department to give priority to the safety of the public.

Mr Jimenze said the health secretary could not accept the reality that Dengvaxia is a failure.

During the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd , the Department of Health spent P3.5 billion to procure the vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur, the French manufacturer, which was registered with the Food and Drug Administration in December 2015.

The vaccine was subsequently administered to children in April of the same year in a mass immunization program.  Six months afterward, a Grade 4 pupil from Bataan fell ill and died of severe dengue on Oct 15, 2016.

Other deaths supposedly due to severe dengue have been reported, but the Health Department has yet to issue official statement linking the deaths to the vaccine.

Jimenez said what the secretary should do was to coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation and the Public Attorneys Office experts and look into their findings rather than getting opinions from other independent experts.