Dengue fever vaccine scare after warnings

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Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II will issue a department order to task the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe on the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in the wake of reports that the world's first-ever dengue vaccine poses risk to individuals with no prior dengue infection.

The Health department has suspended the administering of the vaccine. "Everybody who has some involvement will be included and appropriate charges will be filed against them if warranted", Aguirre said sought for a comment.

Scientists concluded that while the vaccine protects people against further infection if they've already been infected with dengue, that's not the case for people who haven't previously been sickened by the disease.

The vaccine is now recommended in most dengue-endemic countries for people over age nine.

Malacañang assured the public that those responsible for the P3.5-billion dengue vaccine fiasco will be held accountable for what it called a "shameless public health scam".

"We understand the concern of our people, especially the parents and the relatives of public elementary children residing in Regions III, IV-A, and NCR, where the dengue vaccination initiative was launched by the previous administration", Roque said.

The surveillance will also be made through rural health units, which will monitor the health of these children, he added.

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A total of 733,713 students from Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Metro Manila received the dengue vaccine as of last month.

"So the vaccine is not available in public programmes in Thailand", she added.

The Philippines was the first Asian country to administer the vaccine produced by Sanofi.

"There is a reduction of 93 percent in the severity of the (dengue) disease and 82 percent in reduction in hospitalization".

Senators and other government officials also raised questions why the DOH pushed through with the plan despite warnings of the vaccine's possible side effects.

"Sanofi will propose that national regulatory agencies update the prescribing information, known as the label in many countries, requesting that healthcare professionals assess the likelihood of prior dengue infection in an individual before vaccinating", the statement read.

"We assure the public that as per the Department of Health (DOH) there is now no reported case of severe dengue infection to the individuals who received one dose of dengue vaccine a year ago", Roque said in a statement.

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