Philippines suspends $94m dengue vaccination programme on latest pharma alert

Ebony Scott
December 2, 2017

On Wednesday, Sanofi $SNY said that their investigators had determined that Dengvaxia presented a real threat to patients who were vaccinated against dengue without having first been exposed to it.

Duque said there will be "mandatory history taking on the immunization of vaccinees" and "mandatory reporting of hospital cases of vaccinees regardless of the symptoms" to evaluate the program and ensure its safety.

"Put on hold muna tayo sa ating vaccination sa dengue", Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a media briefing on Friday.

The said vaccine was used in the department's dengue vaccination initiative that was launched in three highly endemic regions (Regions 3, 4-A, and NCR), with over 700,000 individuals receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.

The analysis of six years of clinical data confirmed Dengvaxia did provide persistent protective benefit in those who had previously had dengue, the company added. Dengue is an acute viral infection, which is transmitted through the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito and may result in death if left untreated. The request is based on a new analysis of long-term clinical trial data, which found differences in vaccine performance based on prior dengue infection. People can be infected with dengue up to four times in their lifetime and they can get severely ill after any of these infections.

"As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, I intend to call for an investigation on the disturbing findings related to the dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia", he said.

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"But then reviewing the guidelines, the ones classified by Sanofi [as severe] right now...most of the cases would not even fall under our current definition of severe", Suy explained.

Based on the report, the Dengue vaccine has shown consistent and sustained benefit for those who were previously infected with the dengue virus. Because there are countless number of lives that have been saved from vaccine-preventable diseases. So, when a person encounters dengue naturally after a previous vaccination, their immune system could process it as a second infection that's much more severe, according to the team from Imperial College London, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Florida.

Although dengue is not as serious as malaria, it is spreading rapidly in many parts of the world.

"They immunized nearly the same number as the ones vaccinated here".

Currently, there is no reported case of severe dengue infection among those who received the vaccine.

Other reports by GizPress

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