MANILA, Philippines - In the string of controversy surrounding the dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, one student died while another one remains in the hospital for severe dengue just months after receiving the shot.

vaccine photo
733,000 school children were given Dengvaxia as part of national immunization program. Photo Courtesy: Mims

Christine Mae de Guzman, a grade 5 student from Mariveles, Bataan died October last year, months after she received one shot of Dengvaxia. De Guzman just spent one day in the hospital before dying due to “disseminated intravascular coagulopathy and severe dengue.” She had no previous history of dengue.

A student in Tarlac is currently in the hospital due to severe dengue. She completed the three doses of Dengvaxia and had not been exposed to Dengue before. The student’s condition is now improving but is still closely being monitored.

Dengvaxia only recommended for those with history of dengue

This all came after Sanofi Pasteur, maker of the world’s first dengue vaccine Dengvaxia had released a warning on the use of the vaccine on those who have no previous history of dengue.

Dengvaxia only recommended for those with history of dengue
Dengvaxia is the world’s first dengue vaccine manufactured by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteau. Photo Courtesy: Mims

In a press release, Sanofi explained that Dengvaxia was only beneficial in the prevention of dengue to those who have prior exposure to the virus. If given to those who have no history of dengue, “more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection.”

Sanofi later on clarified their statement that it does not cause severe dengue but may increase the risk of hospitalization if infected.

The statement had resulted to a public outcry after the Department of Health (DOH) had already given the vaccine to almost 733,000 students. As part of national vaccination program under the Aquino administration, the government procured P3.5 billion worth of Dengvaxia.

Controversy

Aside from Sanofi, Sen. Richard Gordon had called out former President Benigno Aquino III and former Health Secretary Janette Garin to be held criminally liable for their negligence. He claims that Aquino only met with Sanofi officials twice and "fast-tracked” the approval. The budget was even released on Dec. 29, 2015, or the eve of the 2016 election campaign.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also clarified that they didn’t recommend the use of the vaccine for national immunization programs.

Former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, who took over after Sec. Garin stated that she tried to stop the immunization of Dengvaxia due to long-term effects. She told Sec. Garin about her hesitation but was told that there was already a decision from the “higher than the secretary of health.”

She opted to continue the program due to “damage control.”

Investigation is underway

A Senate inquiry and an investigation was already ordered by the Department of Justice.

Malaca├▒ang already gave a stern statement that the “health scam” will not be swept under the rug.

The DOH had suspended the immunization program while the FDA called on the “pull-out” of Dengvaxia in the market.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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