Relatives of children who died due to the complications of the Dengvaxia vaccine, along with the Public Attorney’s Office, on Thursday challenged Department of Health (DOH) officer in charge Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire to disclose the complete lists of vaccine recipients and 700 other deaths.
At a media briefing in Quezon City, Sumachen Dominguez,Samahan ng mga Magulang, Anak at Biktima ng Dengvaxia president, urged Vergeire to identify those who died or suffered after the vaccine inoculation.
She also called on ex-health chief Janette Garin, now Iloilo representative, to stop from endorsing the return of Dengvaxia.
“We appeal to Vergeire not to follow the suit of then Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who hid the information using the Data Privacy Act as an excuse,” Dr. Erwin Erfe said.
Vergeire earlier said the DOH would “thoroughly” study and gather evidence on any available anti-dengue vaccine.
Erfe slammed Garin, whom he said is applying as the next DOH secretary. “The no. 1 candidate is Garin,” PAO chief Persida Acosta said.
The others are Dr. Rontgene Solante and Dr. Edsel Salvana, who claimed that the Dengvaxia vaccine is effective if properly administered.
The DOH earlier it is open to reviewing again the possible evidence presented by the vaccine Dengvaxia amid the continuing increase of dengue cases in the country.
Vergeire said the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia was revoked in 2018 following the announcement of Sanofi Pasteur that the vaccine may lead to “more severe” symptoms for those who have never been infected by dengue prior to vaccination.
“Our government, along with the DOH, is always open to new technology especially if the evidence shows that it can really protect our population. We just need to study it thoroughly again, get inputs from our experts, and have the manufacturer be compliant with our regulations here in the country,” she said.
The dengue vaccination program started during the term of then-Health Secretary Garin in 2016. It was then put on hold when health concerns on the vaccine were raised.
Around 800,000 schoolchildren aged 9 years old and above were, however, able to receive the said vaccine before it was halted.
The DOH on Monday said 64,797 dengue cases were recorded nationwide from January 1 to June 25, 2022, a 90 percent cases reported during the same period last year.
At least 274 people have also died in the country this year due to dengue, posing a 0.4 percent case fatality rate.
Vergeire said 15 out of the country’s 17 regions have already surpassed the alert and epidemic threshold for dengue, which is now mostly affecting the 15 and below age group.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros expressed support to the DOH’s plan to revisit the Dengvaxia vaccine. Hontiveros said Dengvaxia is being used in several countries to fight dengue. With Willie Casas and Macon Ramos-Araneta