Today's Punto
Today's Punto
P3-B for anti-dengue vaccine program already spent -- DOH
By Ding Cervantes

Dec 07, 2017

CLARK FREEPORT - The Department of Health (DOH) has already used up P3 billion of its P3.5-billion budget for its controversial anti-dengue vaccine or Dengvaxia program, but is negotiating with manufacturer Sanofi for options on some 700,000 still unused doses of the vaccine.

In a press conference here yesterday, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said the DOH is considering several options on the unused doses, including returning them to Sanofi for a refund, or asking the Sanofi to defray the medical costs of some 700,000 immunized school children in case they fall ill.

“The remaining P500 million is still with the DOH,” Suy said, after admitting that his agency had already spent P3 billion for the Dengvaxia project which was initiated during the administration of former Pres. Benigno Aquino.

The DOH suspended the project after Sanofi came out with admission that the vaccine could lead to “severe” cases for children who never had history of dengue ailment.

Some parents of the vaccinated children in Mabalacat City said they would coordinate with prominent lawyer Ernesto Francisco who urged the filing of class suits against Sanofi and past and present officials of the DOH who were involved in the project.

Asked whether the DOH would be willing to provide the names of its officials, Suy said his agency would cooperate.

The DOH said some 700,000 children in Grade 4 were given the initial dose of Dengvaxia which was supposed to be given in three successive doses.

There is no immediate data on how many of them received the second and the final dose. No data was immediately available on whether children who never had dengue are now more at risk for having received all three doses of Dengvaxia.

“We still don’t know how three vaccine doses instead of one would affect the children, but we are monitoring,” said Health Asst. Secretary Leonita Gorgolon.

Sanofi representative Dr. Maria Leila Espinosa clarifi ed during the press conference that its use of the term “severe” consequences of the vaccine among children with history of dengue has been misunderstood by the public.

“In clinical terms, severe dengue cases need not even be hospitalized and only home care would do,” she said.

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