Despite the controversies involving the vaccines that allegedly took so many lives, the government is now reconsidering the use of Dengvaxia to fight against dengue.
Open to Dengvaxia’s use again
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters in Malacañang that the Duterte administration welcomes the possibility of making Dengvaxia available in the market again should it help the people.
“We’re always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people. We’re not closed to any suggestion, ” he said.
However, he noted, “we need experts to support any call for the return of Dengvaxia.”
Dengvaxia’s effect on people
In 2016, Dengvaxia was used in the mass anti-dengue vaccination program under the administration of former President Benigno S. Aquino III. Later on, the Duterte administration continued with the program using the same vaccine.
Sanofi Pasteur, the French pharmaceutical that manufactured Dengvaxia, released a report in 2017 that the vaccine could cause more harm to patients who received it without prior history of being infected with dengue.
Dengvaxia was eventually pulled out from the local market. While the Department of Health (DOH), under the then incumbent Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, stopped the nationwide vaccination campaign of the government.
About 106,630 dengue cases nationwide have been reported between the period of January 1 and June 29, 2019. This prompted now Health Secretary Duque to declare a “national dengue alert” on July 15.
On July 25, former Health Secretary and now congresswoman of the first district of Iloilo, Janette Garin said that the DOH should take the heed of experts.
“Now is the time for DOH to listen to real experts, follow international guidelines and make essential medicines, vaccinations included to those who need it, ” she said.
The House senior minority further added that the World Health Organization has declared dengue as a disease of pandemic potential, classified as a public health emergency in 2010.
Secretary Panelo meanwhile said that Garin’s suggestion should be “discussed thoroughly and extensively.”