Philippines orders investigation of 730,000 children in dengue vaccine suspension –

Philippines orders investigation of 730,000 children in dengue vaccine suspension


MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines ordered an investigation Monday into the immunization of more than 730,000 children with a suspended dengue vaccine following the announcement by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi ( SASY.PA ) that it could make the disease worse in some cases.

Amid growing public concern, Sanofi explained his "new findings" at a press conference in Manila, but did not say why no action was taken after a World Health Organization (WHO) report mid-year. 2016 that identified the risk that was now marking.

A non-governmental organization (NGO) said it had received information that three children who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia had died and one senator said he knew of two cases.

However, the Undersecretary of the Department of Health, Gerardo Bayugo, told Reuters that the three mentioned by the NGO died due to causes unrelated to the vaccine, and Sanofi said no deaths were reported as a result of the program. [19659005] "As far as we know, as far as we know, there are no reported deaths related to dengue vaccination," said Ruby Dizon, medical director of Sanofi Pasteur Philippines.

Last week, the Philippine Health Department stopped using Dengvaxia after Sanofi said it should be strictly limited due to evidence that it may worsen the disease in people not previously exposed to the infection.

In a statement, Sanofi said that the long-term safety badessment of vaccines showed significantly fewer hospitalizations due to dengue in vaccinated persons older than 9 years compared to those who had not been vaccinated.

Almost 734,000 children aged 9 and over in the Philippines have received a dose of the vaccine as part of a program that cost 3.5 billion pesos ($ 69.54 million).

The Justice Department ordered the National Bureau of Investigation on Monday to investigate "the alleged danger to public health … and if the evidence justifies it,"

There were no indications that health officials in the Philippines knew about it. the risks when they administered the vaccine.

However, the WHO said in a July 2016 research paper that "vaccination may be ineffective or theoretically even increase the future risk of hospitalized or severe dengue in those who are seronegative at the time of first vaccination regardless of the age ".

The Health Sciences Authority of Singapore said last week that it was taking risks when Dengvaxia was approved there in October 2016, and was working with Sanofi to reinforce the risk warnings on the drug package.

According to Sanofi in Manila, 19 licenses were granted for Dengvaxia, and it was launched in 11 countries, two of which-the Philippines and Brazil-received public vaccination. programs.


A spokesman for the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, said on Sunday that the government would take into account or be responsible for the program.

"We will not leave stone in hand to hold those responsible for this shameless public health scam, which puts hundreds of thousands of young people at risk," spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement. 19659008] Former Health Secretary Janette Garin, who implemented the program under the administration of then-President Benigno Aquino, said she welcomed the investigation.

"In case there are authorities that accuse me of guilt, I am ready to face the consequences," he told ANC TV. "We implemented it in accordance with the recommendations and recommendations of WHO."

Roque said that no case of "severe dengue infection" had been reported since the vaccine was administered and urged the public to "not disseminate information that may cause undue alarm."

Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, an NGO, said it was reviewing a report that three children on the northern island of Luzon had died since they were vaccinated in April 2016, but the Health Department said the deaths were not they owed Dengvaxia. .

"When we evaluated the clinical records, it was not related to vaccination against dengue," said Undersecretary Bayugo.

A prominent senator, Richard Gordon, told Reuters he knew of two deaths, but gave no details. and said approval and acquisition for the program was made with "undue haste".

Dengue is a tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Although not as serious as malaria, it is spreading rapidly in many parts of the world, killing about 20,000 people a year and infecting hundreds of millions.

While Sanofi Dengvaxia is the first approved vaccine against dengue, scientists already acknowledged that it was not perfect and did not protect equally against the four different types of viruses in clinical trials.

A new badysis of six years of clinical data showed that the Dengvaxia vaccine provides a persistent protective benefit against dengue in those with an infection history.

But for those who had not previously been infected by the virus, more cases of severe disease could occur in the long term after vaccination, Sanofi said.

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