Duque hopes Dengvaxia issue won't deter vaccination for other diseases
MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is hoping issues over the government's dengue immunization program will not deter the public from getting vaccinated for other diseases.
The Department of Health (DOH) chief highlighted the importance of vaccination on Friday, December 1, after manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur warned that its dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, poses risks to people who had no prior infection. (READ: TIMELINE: Dengue immunization program for public school students)
“I hope that this development will not in any way affect the DOH expanded program on immunization. Because there are countless number of lives that have been saved from vaccine-preventable diseases. So the value of that has to be preserved,” said Duque.
Several netizens have been using Sanofi’s advisory on Dengvaxia to discourage the public from getting vaccinated for any disease. Duque said this should not be the case, because vaccines have “prevented numerous or countless numbers of deaths."
He added that the DOH vaccination programs for other diseases like cervical cancer, measles, and tetanus have to be “enhanced and strengthened.”
“We are committed to do exactly that as can be reflected by the massive investments that the DOH is preparing for this program,” said Duque, adding the DOH has allocated around P7 billion for various vaccination initiatives.
Controversy hounds the Dengxavia vaccine, after Sanofi said new analysis of 6 years’ worth of data showed the vaccine could lead to more severe cases of dengue if administered on a person not previously infected by the virus. (READ: Vaccinated Filipino youth now at risk of getting severe dengue)
Several health advocates are pushing the DOH to take legal action against former health officials responsible for the vaccination program, but Duque said the DOH has to first conduct a review on all the documents and the process involved. – Rappler.com