Palace open to make Dengvaxia usable again as dengue cases spike
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is open to making the controversial Dengvaxia vaccines available in the market again in the wake of continuously rising cases of dengue in the country.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Wednesday that the Duterte is “open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people” after former Health Secretary Janette Garin urged the government to “listen to real experts” and allow the vaccines accessible to the public anew.
“We’re always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people. We’re not closed to any suggestion,” Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.
But Panelo said Garin’s call “has to be discussed thoroughly, extensively.”’
“[W]e need experts to support any call for the return of Dengvaxia,” he noted.
The administration of former President Benigno S. Aquino III has used Dengvaxia, a vaccine manufactured by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, in the government’s mass anti-dengue vaccination program that started in 2016 and carried on under the Duterte administration.
In November 2017, Sanofi released results of its long-term follow-up study showing that Dengvaxia could cause an increased risk to patients who received it without prior history of being infected with dengue.
Subsequently, the government, under incumbent Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, stopped the nationwide anti-dengue inoculation campaign and thereby pulled out Dengvaxia vaccines from the local market.
Following Garin’s recommendation, Panelo cited conflicting claims of experts regarding Dengvaxia’s efficacy.
“If you will notice ‘yung mga experts hindi nagkakasundo diyan. May nagsasabing pwede, may nagsasabing hindi pwede. So we need to thoroughly investigate exactly the situation involving the Dengvaxia,” he said.
“If the weight of findings show that there is benefit using Dengvaxia against dengue, then certainly the government should consider it,” he said.
On July 15, Duque declared a “national dengue alert” as 106,630 dengue cases have already been reported nationwide from January 1 to June 29, 2019. /kga
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