LP senators urge impartial probe of dengue vaccine program
Three Liberal Party (LP) senators on Tuesday called for a “fair and impartial” investigation into the failed dengue vaccine program. One senator said the probe should not be selective and should cover all periods of the implementation program.
“We support calls for investigation of this issue as thousands of children’s lives are at stake here. We must ensure that the investigation will not be selective and will cover all periods of implementation of the program,” Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of LP, said in a joint statement.
Pangilinan pointed out that the anti-dengue immunization program using Dengvaxia was first implemented by the Department of Health during the last year of the Aquino administration but was continued by the Duterte government upon the recommendation of the new DOH leadership.
Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV urged concerned government agencies to monitor the status of students, who received the initial dose of the vaccine, to ensure their health and wellness.
“Mas mahalagang mabantayan ang kalagayan ng mga estudyanteng tumanggap ng bakuna upang matiyak ang kanilang kaligtasan (It is more important to monitor the condition of those students who received the vaccinations to ensure they are safe),” Sen. Aquino, also an LP member, said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the vaccine’s manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, together with the government, has the duty to ensure the safety of those vaccinated.
“As what the health experts say, dengue kills. And it is the responsibility of the government to find a safe and effective solution to the disease,” said Drilon, vice chairman of LP.
The DOH stopped the use of Dengvaxia after Sanofi admitted that it might have harmful effects when administered to individuals not previously infected with dengue.
“Based on up to six years of clinical data, the new analysis evaluated long-term safety and efficacy of Dengvaxia in people who had been infected with dengue prior to vaccination and those who had not. The analysis confirmed that Dengvaxia provides persistent protective benefit against dengue fever in those who had prior infection,” Sanofi said.
“For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection,” it added.
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