DOH list of Dengvaxia deaths grows
The Department of Health (DOH) has now recorded 62 deaths of children who received the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine under the government’s immunization program.
Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said DOH officials were still collating the medical records of the additional fatalities before these were forwarded to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for a probe.
“Once we have their complete medical records, 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.
In February, the DITF released its first report on the deaths of 14 children who had been inoculated with Dengvaxia and found that three died of dengue while the others died of other 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 DOH officials submitted 17 other cases of children who had been inoculated and died.
He said the task force’s findings were expected in a few weeks after meetings with the World Health Organization and after the DOH had “capacity-building measures in place.”
The latest deaths bring to 31 the number of cases being studied by the task force.
Late last year, the vaccine maker, Sanofi-Pasteur, admitted that Dengvaxia could 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 Dengvaxia.