DOH spends P22M for Dengvaxia recipients
The Department of Health has spent over P22 million in medical assistance to recipients of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine who were confined in hospitals in four affected regions.
The money was spent to help shoulder the bills of 3,281 patients who were hospitalized after being immunized with the anti-dengue vaccine, Health undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo said.
The DOH has disbursed P22,167,393.18 in medical assistance to those who received the vaccine and fell sick afterwards, Enrique said in a press briefing Friday.
This amount was disbursed beginning December last year or shortly after the controversy over the Dengvaxia vaccine broke out, covering more than four months.
Of this amount, P10 million was spent for hospitalization bills in Calabarzon, followed by Central Luzon which received P5,222,015 in medical assistance.
The San Lazaro Hospital in Manila received P4 million in medical assistance, while Metro Manila got P2,463,925.50 in medical support for recipients of the vaccine.
Patients given the Dengvaxia vaccine in Central Visayas received P481,452.68 in medical assistance.
This means that the DOH has exceeded its initial P20 million allotment for medical assistance to the four regions covered by the Dengvaxia immunization program.
Domingo said the 3,281 patients, who were hospitalized following their innoculation with Dengvaxia, include the 65 cases of deaths of vaccine recipients so far.
Of the 3,281 patients who reported serious adverse events following immunization, 1,967 contracted dengue which was confirmed through clinical and serological testing.
The health undersecretary pointed out that most of the patients who were confined in hospitals were able to recover and were eventually sent home.
“Ninety-eight percent of the more than 3,200 patients eventually recovered and were sent home, so that’s 3,216 patients,” Domingo said of the patients, who were confined in public and private hospitals.
He added: “The DOH reiterates the importance of seeking early consultation as soon as signs and symptoms are noted in order to prevent more severe and even fatal complications.”
The top illnesses that the other patients complained of were: viral infections, acute respiratory illnesses or influenza, pneumonia and acute gastroenteritis.
Of the 65 deaths of patients who received the Dengvaxia vaccine, 26 were from Central Luzon, 23 from Calabarzon, 11 from Metro Manila and seven from Central Visayas.
Of the 65 fatalities, 13 were due to severe dengue infections, while the causes of deaths of the 52 other patients were heart diseases, central nervous system infections, pneumonia, leukemia and asthma.
Domingo added that the DOH was still awaiting the approval of Congress for them to use the P1.16 billion that Sanofi refunded for the unused Dengvaxia vaccines.
This will be used to expand the DOH’s assistance to the Dengvaxia recipients, which will cover the medical assistance program for hospitalization, outpatient health care services, deployment of nurses to monitor vaccine recipients in schools and communities, and dengue prevention kits.
Meanwhile, the Dengue Investigation Task Force of the Philippine General Hospital is finalizing its second report on another 17 cases of deaths of Dengvaxia recipients.
Domingo said the PGH-DITF is still studying the case of an adult who died following his innoculation with the Dengvaxia vaccine. The adult is a utility worker employed by the Philippine National Police.
“Most of the members of the PGH-DITF are pediatricians, so in the case of the adult fatality, the case was referred to an internist,” he said. WITH STARLENE PORTILLO and YVINN BORONDIA, TRAINEES
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