DOH to wait for WHO advice if anti-dengue vaccine to be continued
The Department of Health (DOH) will wait for the advice of the World Health Organization on whether it would continue implementing the anti-dengue vaccine program in the country, an official said on Monday.
In a press briefing in Malacanang, Assistant Health Secretary and spokesperson Lyndon Lee Suy said there is nothing to worry about even if the supposed three doses of Dengvaxia vaccine could not be completed after the DOH halted implementation of the program last week.
The health department suspended the anti-dengue vaccination, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, after the latter warned of possible serious harm Dengvaxia could cause even if they persons inoculated with the vaccine have not been infected by the dengue virus.
Over 700,000 children from Regions III, IV-A and National Capital Region have been injected with Dengvaxia since December 2015 under the Aquino administration until it was suspended last week.
Lee Suy said about half of the recipients should have been given complete doses of the vaccine.
"There was no study yet that there is something to be worried about if the (doses) of vaccine were not complete," Lee Suy said.
"In fact, as we have said, we still have until next year to complete it, just in case, pending the recommendation of the WHO," he said.
He said one of the considerations to be looked into by the WHO is the effect on the children who have not been completely vaccinated.
Suy said of the 700,000 children who were vaccinated, about 10 percent of them were at risk because they were the ones who were not infected yet with the dengue virus.
He clarified that the word at risk does not mean all of them could be inflicted with severe dengue.
On the threat of some of quarters to file charges against those responsible for the mess, Suy said the health department is ready for it.
"We're ready. We have the documents to prove that everything was in order," he stressed. Celerina Monte/DMS