Gov't to consider WHO, medical experts' opinion on possible re-use of Dengvaxia - Palace
The Duterte administration will consider the opinion of the World Health Organization ( WHO) and other experts before possibly reviving the use of Dengvaxia vaccine to address rising cases of dengue, Malacanang said on Friday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo added that should the government use Dengvaxia vaccine, it did not mean that criminal charges filed against certain former officials in the government on the deaths of some individuals for the alleged use of Dengvaxia would be moot.
"A possible revival of Dengvaxia for those previously infected with dengue virus does not mean that pending cases against former officials involved in the issues surrounding the vaccine will be rendered moot. We will continue to leave this matter to courts of law as they decide the merits of the case," said Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel.
Criminal charges have been filed against former President Benigno Aquino III, former Health Secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin and other former officials for implementing the Dengvaxia vaccine during the previous administration leading to alleged deaths of some children.
In November 2017, Sanofi-Pasteur, manufacturer of Dengvaxia, admitted that the vaccine could bring higher risk to those not yet infected with dengue. On December 4, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration ordered Dengvaxia pulled out of the market.
On July 15, the Department of Health declared a nationwide dengue alert.
Earlier Garin proposed that Dengvaxia be made available in the local market, claiming there was no concrete evidence to link the medicine to the deaths of children who received the vaccine in the past.
Using Dengvaxia could help prevent further increase in the number of dengue cases in the country, she has said.
Panelo said the government is open to any form or method that will lessen the rising cases of dengue in the country, which may include the possible re-use of Dengvaxia.
"It must be stressed, however, that a possible revival of the use of this vaccine must be done with utmost caution by considering the opinion of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other medical experts who opine, among others, that the same should be given only to those who already had prior dengue experience," he said.
"We will also consider the protocol set by the WHO that for countries considering said vaccination as part of their dengue control program, a 'pre-vaccination screening strategy' is recommended," he added.
If Dengvaxia is proven effective to those who already had dengue in the past, Panelo said its application to these individuals will "surely cause the decline of the overall number of cases of dengue which plague the residents of this country."
He said there is nothing final yet regarding the revival of Dengvaxia use.
However, he said should the government decide to use the vaccine, "we will not repeat the mistakes of the past, where Dengvaxia was allegedly misused and mishandled in aid of political election with haste."
"Politics must be set aside when the health of the citizenry is in peril. This Administration will not sit idly and expect that a health concern will be resolved without any action on its part. We have always acted with the best interest and welfare of the Filipinos in mind. We will do the same in this case," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS