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PAO: 160th Dengvaxia ‘victim’ dies

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A teenage girl who received three doses of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine died on Dec. 8 in a Quezon City hospital, the Public Attorney’s Office said Monday.

At a media briefing, Dr. Erwin Erfe, chief of the PAO’s forensi division, said Annabel Porcia of Barangay Mambugan, Antipolo City, Rizal province approached the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption to seek assistance from the public attorney.

This was after her 15-year-old daughter, Crisa Mae, died at the East Avenue Medical Center due to pneumonia as stated on her death certificate.

“She is the 160th victim whose death is linked to Dengvaxia vaccine,” Erfe told reporters.

Erfe, along with the other forensic laboratory experts, yesterday conducted an autopsy of the girl’s remains at the Heaven Gates Memorial Gardens in Barangay Mayamot.

“There is a pattern of severe internal bleeding and multiple organ enlargement,” he said.

The autopsy on the bodies of the 160 school children showed a pattern of the fatal side effects of the anti-dengue vaccine, including viscerotropism, neurotropism, severe dengue and anaphylactic reaction, he added.

“Sanofi Pasteur Inc. concealed to the Philippines the four risks of its vaccine as early as Dec. 22, 2015,” Erfe said.

In February 2018, Dr. Anthony Leachon, a physician, and former government adviser, said Sanofi Pasteur was well-aware of the risks of its Dengvaxia vaccine in 2015 but did not inform the Philippine government.

He and former Food and Drug Administration director general Nela Charade Puno both presented documents to prove their accusations against Sanofi Pasteur at the House of Representatives.

In 2016, the Department of Health under then-Secretary Janette Garin procured P3 billion worth of Dengvaxia from Sanofi Pasteur for the mass vaccination of 830,000 children in public schools.

On Nov. 29, 2017, Sanofi Pasteur issued an official statement posted on its website after a new analysis of six years' worth of clinical data.

“The analysis confirmed that Dengvaxia provides persistent protective benefit against dengue fever in those who had prior infection. For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection," it stated.

After Sanofi Pasteur's advisory on Dengvaxia, Leachon said the students who got their anti-dengue shots from the Department of Health would live with the possibility of getting severe dengue “for the rest of their lives.”

Kin of the deceased children through PAO filed criminal and civil cases against Garin and 38 other accused with various courts and the Department of Justice.

According to Porcia, her daughter was an honor student who wished to be a lawyer or a doctor.

“DOH should have taken care of the health of those who got the Dengvaxia vaccine to prevent more children to die, to no avail,” Erfe said.

Meanwhile, PAO chief Persida Acosta yesterday sent President Rodrigo Duterte a third extremely urgent letter-request to veto Senators

Franklin Drilon and Sonny Angara’s “illegal” insertion of a provision in the P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 prohibiting PAO’s use of its maintenance and other operating expenses for the operations of its forensic laboratory and allocations for personnel services.

“This is an oppressive violation of the Civil Service rules and regulations for plantilla positions, and is unconstitutional, and illegal and contrary to law,” she told the conference.


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