PAO probes death of 5th child who received dengue vaccine

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2018 07:57 AM

FILE PHOTO: A pharmacist shows the Devangxia vaccine inside a vaccine refrigerator at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A "pattern" that led to the deaths of several recipients of a controversial dengue vaccine was observed in a fifth child, the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) said Thursday. 

The Philippines late last year halted the immunization of public school students with the vaccine Dengvaxia after French drug maker Sanofi disclosed that it might increase the risk of severe dengue in recipients not previously infected by the mosquito-borne virus. 

PAO had examined the bodies of 4 children and discovered the following pattern: internal bleeding, enlarged organs and death within 6 months after receiving the vaccine. 

A fifth child examined on Wednesday showed the same pattern, said Dr. Erwin Erfe, head of the PAO Forensic Laboratory. 

"Marami pong pagdudugo sa ulo, utak, puso, lungs at saka po sa intestinal tract... Basically po, the same po ang findings," he told DZMM. 

(There was a lot of bleeding in the head, brain, heart lungs and along the intestinal tract. Basically, the findings were the same.)

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PAO is set to examine on Thursday 2 other children from Bataan who died after receiving Dengvaxia, Erfe said. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said he welcomes PAO's findings, but that this would need to be verified by a panel of experts tapped by the government. 

The health agency, he said, is ready to assist PAO in their investigation.

PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta however earlier rejected the offer of help, claiming that the experts allegedly have ties with Sanofi, which Duque has denied