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Ex-Health chief, doctors want PAO’s Dengvaxia probe to stop

/ 03:05 PM February 03, 2018

Dr. Erwin Erfe (middle), PAO forensic expert, performs an autopsy on a child who died after receiving the Dengvaxia vaccine. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

It makes no sense for the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to continue performing autopsies on suspected Dengvaxia victims, Doctors for Public Welfare (DPW) said on Saturday.

The group, led by former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, said  a clinical review conducted by Philippine General Hospital (PGH) forensic pathologists on 14 dead children has determined that the deaths were not linked to the anti-dengue vaccine.

“In fact, the deaths of 13 of them were totally unrelated to the vaccine,” the DPW said in a statement.

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While it appeared that only one case may be “causally” associated with Dengvaxia, the DPW said it has yet to be known if the vaccine had anything to do with the death.

“In two of the children autopsied, it was noted that vaccine failure may have been the case. This means that no antibodies were produced so they could not have suffered from an antibody enhanced reaction,” the group pointed out.

“This can happen when the vaccine is not stored properly and so loses its potency. It’s although the children were never vaccinated. Hence, the two most likely died of dengue not due to the vaccine,” DPW explained.

According to DPW, the diagnosis made by PAO forensic expert Dr. Erwin Erfe that linked the deaths of all autopsied children to Dengvaxia, was “practically” wrong.

“In actuality, he is probably wrong in all, given that any actual causative relationship between the death of one child to the vaccine is yet to be determined,” the group said.

In light of the PGH’s findings, the DPW said “it makes no sense for any more families to be subjected to the torture of having a loved one exhumed and cut up only to find out that no useful information was derived from the cruel act.”

“We urge the Department of Justice (DOJ) to order the PAO to stop performing autopsies on these children and to leave the matter of determining the cause of death to competent forensic pathologists,” it said.

INQUIRER.net tried to get a comment from Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II but the DOJ chief has yet to provide a response.  /muf

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TAGS: Dengvaxia, forensic pathologists, PAO, PGH
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