MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) will convene an independent panel of experts to review the latest results of clinical trials and surveillance related to the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.
In a statement on Tuesday, December 26, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the data will come from the 5-year observation period in clinical trials conducted by Sanofi Pasteur, post-marketing surveillance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and surveillance of adverse events following immunization (AEFI) through the DOH Epidemiology Bureau.
“The DOH continues to refine our response and action plan in the Dengue Task Force to ensure the safety and best health outcomes for children who were vaccinated through heightened monitoring and surveillance, effective management of adverse events following immunization, activation of the dengue fast lanes in public hospitals, and truthful and timely risk communication to the public,” Duque said.
At least 830,000 Filipinos in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Cebu – most of them grade-schoolers – had been vaccinated under the government’s dengue immunization program. (READ: What to do if your child received dengue vaccine)
The DOH suspended the program after Sanofi Pasteur announced that its vaccine could lead to “severe” dengue if given to a person with no prior infection.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to conduct its own probe into the matter.
According to Duque, the health department will submit all documents requested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday, December 27.
“We leave it to the appropriate courts to conduct their own independent investigation and to determine whether all the legal requirements were satisfactorily met in the purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine,” he said.
The P3.5-billion dengue vaccine purchase was made during the Aquino administration. Former president Benigno Aquino III, ex-health secretary Janette Garin, and several others face graft charges over the controversial purchase. (READ: Aquino says no one advised him vs using Dengvaxia in PH)
Duque assured the public that authorities are “heavily immersed” in efforts to address public concerns.
“We shall also put in place the necessary measures to ensure the observance of proper procedures in the introduction of new vaccines into our public health programs,” he added. – Rappler.com
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