DOH alarmed after manufacturer admits dengue vaccine poses risk

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  • Sanofi Pasteur, maker of Dengvaxia, the world’s first dengue vaccine, admitted the vaccine poses risk
  • The DOH was alarmed by Sanofi’s admission
  • Almost half a million 9-year-old school children were vaccinated with Dengvaxia during the DOH’s school-based immunization in April 2016

Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer of Dengvaxia, the world’s first dengue vaccine, admitted that the vaccine could put people at risk of severe disease if they have not previously been infected.

After studying six years of patient data, Sanofi Pasteur on Wednesday, November, 29, concluded that Dengvaxia provides protective benefits against dengue fever to patients who have been previously exposed to dengue virus, but poses risk of severe disease to those who have no prior dengue infection.

“Dengvaxia provides persistent protective benefits against dengue fever in those who had prior infection. For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection,” Sanofi’s statement read.

As per DWIZ, the Department of Health (DOH) was alarmed by Sanofi’s admission. DOH Secretary Francisco Duque ordered the Dengue Technical and Management Committee to meet with experts to determine their next course of action.

“The safety of the children vaccinated is paramount, and the Health Department will need to do surveillance of those given Dengvaxia with no prior infection. It’s really a big task,” Duque said.

The Philippines was the 1st country in Asia to approve the vaccine for individuals aged 9 and 45 years old in December 2015. The vaccine was to be administered in three phases at a 6-month interval, as per ABS-CBN.

During the first phase, 491,990 9-year-old students were vaccinated. 415,681 turned up for the second phase, while data is still being collated to determine how many children completed the third phase of the vaccination.

Independent Health Advocate Dr. Anthony Leachon said some of those who were vaccinated will develop severe dengue.

“It means some of them will develop severe dengue, we don’t know who. All of them will have to live with this possibility for the rest of their lives,” Dr. Leachon said.