DOH says 62 kids may have died after receiving Dengvaxia
The Department of Health (DOH) has now recorded 62 deaths of children who received the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine from the government’s immunization program.
Health undersecretary Enrique Domingo said they are still collating the medical records of the additional fatalities before these are forwarded to the Philippine General Hospital for a probe.
“Once we have their medical records complete, then we are going to forward these to the PGH Dengue Investigative Task Force (DITF) for the assessment of the cause of death,” he said.
It may be recalled that in February, the PGH-DITF released its first report on the deaths of 14 children who received the Dengvaxia vaccine, based on the clinical history of the patients.
The investigating team found out that only three out of the 14 children died of dengue despite being injected with the anti-dengue vaccine, while the others died of other existing illnesses.
At that time, the panel could not yet ascertain if the Dengvaxia vaccine was to blame for the children’s illnesses and eventual deaths.
After the first study of 14 cases, Domingo said they have submitted another 17 cases of deaths of children who were similarly given the vaccine.
“We’re expecting the PGH-DITF’s analysis in a few weeks. This was after our session with the World Health Organization and we had capacity-building measures in place,” he said.
This means that the PGH-DITF in its custody 31 medical records of children who received the anti-dengue vaccine produced by Sanofi-Pasteur.
Late last year, the vaccine maker admitted that Dengvaxia may increase the risk of severe dengue in sero-negative patients, or those who had no dengue infection before they were vaccinated.
This prompted the DOH to suspend its dengue immunization program, and for the Food and Drug Administration to cancel the certificate of product registration of the said drug.
Domingo added that they are still reaching out to the Public Attorneys’ Office, which is conducting its own autopsies of Dengvaxia recipients upon the request of the patient’s family.
“We’re still reaching out to them. And I think there are two or three patients which were autopsied in DOH hospitals, so we’re also waiting for those autopsy reports,” the health official said. /muf