Child advocate Senator Grace Poe on Thursday called the attention of the Department of Health (DOH) to monitor those children who have been immunized with the controversial anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia on possible adverse effects that may arise.
The government has earlier halted the dengue immunization program after Sanofi warned that according to a new clinical analysis, the said dengue vaccine is more harmful to individuals without prior dengue infections.
“It is important to account for children who received the vaccine amid new developments on its effects. Strict surveillance must be established to monitor any adverse effects and ensure that proper assistance will be given to those affected,” Poe emphasized.
“The DOH should focus on the kids given the shots and determine if any medical intervention is needed given the information about the vaccine’s effects,” Poe added.
The lady Senator said that the government should be ready to create a comprehensive database of people who have been injected with the said vaccine and even those who have not been infected.
“We also seek the assistance of local government units in disseminating information coming from the DOH and other government agencies. If any of these initiatives would entail costs, the government should be ready with the funds and resources because at stake here are the lives of our children,” said Poe.
A draft report by House of Representatives committee on health, which conducted hearings on the efficacy of the vaccine, reported that “there were 997 adverse events following immunization, 30 of which were considered serious cases that needed hospitalization” between March 18, 2016 and August 20 last year.
Poe urged the government to ensure that an ill-planned immunization campaign won’t happen again, adding that the DOH should “exercise more prudence before approving mass vaccination.”
“Due diligence on the effects of the drugs should have been observed and clear lines of protocols should have been established before allowing vaccines to be administered to large groups, especially children,” Poe said.
“Pharmaceutical companies should also be held responsible for selling vaccines that are still undergoing clinical trials and should be held equally accountable for any problem that arises from their manufactured vaccines,” Poe stressed.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday has ordered French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur to suspend its distribution, sale, and marketing of Dengvaxia in order to protect the general public, following the publication of the possible health risks of the anti-dengue vaccine.