President of the Philippines promises to get to the bottom of the & # 39; health scam & # 39; of the vaccine against dengue –

President of the Philippines promises to get to the bottom of the & # 39; health scam & # 39; of the vaccine against dengue


MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippine president's office on Sunday pledged responsibility for those responsible for a suspended dengue immunization program, which he said put thousands of lives at risk.

The Department of Health (DOH) stopped Friday the use of a vaccine against dengue made by Sanofi after the company said its use should be strictly limited due to evidence that it may worsen the disease in people who do not have been exposed to the infection.

"We will not leave stone in hand to make those responsible for this shameless public health scam that puts at risk hundreds of thousands of young people at risk," said presidential spokesman Harry Roque in a statement.

More than 730,000 children aged 9 and older received one dose of the Dengvaxia vaccine last year. The immunization program is in line with the recommendation of the World Health Organization for mbad vaccination in highly endemic countries, health officials said Friday.

Although dengue is not as serious as malaria, it is spreading rapidly in many parts of the world. The virus kills about 20,000 people a year and infects hundreds of millions.

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

A new badysis of six years of clinical data showed that the Dengvaxia vaccine provides a persistent protective benefit against dengue fever in those who had a previous infection.

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 after a dengue infection, Sanofi said.

Roque said that no cases of "severe dengue infection" had been reported since the vaccine was administered and he asked the public "not to disseminate information that could cause undue alarm."

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said his department would track the medical records of thousands of children who were vaccinated and intensify their surveillance to ensure that adequate care is provided to anyone who needs it.

The senators said over the weekend that they would request an investigation into the dengue immunization program to find out what measures the government should take to protect those who might be exposed to the negative effect of the drug.

Senator JV Ejercito, president of the Senate health committee, told reporters he wanted to know if there was any irregularity in the acquisition of the vaccine.

Sanofi Philippines said it would issue a statement on Monday.

Report of Karen Lema; Mark Potter edition

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