DAVAO DEL NORTE - A health official on Saturday said government is strictly monitoring more than 400 residents in Mindanao, mostly children, who were given shots of controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
Health Assistant Secretary Abdullah Dumama said that while the mass vaccination program was given to children in Luzon and in some parts of Visayas, the dengue vaccine was available in private hospitals before state-funded immunization was halted.
Dumama, a former Department of Health (DOH) regional director in Davao, said there has been no report of a Dengvaxia-related death in Mindanao.
“I have heard na may na-admit sa Zamboanga pero di naman po namatay,” he said before the groundbreaking ceremony of the Davao Regional Medical Center Extension Hospital in San Isidro town.
Dumama said government would implement an ID system for those vaccinated with Dengvaxia in Mindanao, starting in the Davao region.
“Makikipag-usap kami with the approval of the Philippine Pediatrics Society. Makikipagtulungan kami sa kanila para mai-present namin 'yung proposal na magkaroon sana ng ID 'yung mga batang 'yan. Pero titingnan natin 'yung impact sa kanila,” Dumama said.
Dumama said IDs would be issued to vaccinated residents and that they would be given priority in hospitals once they feel symptoms of dengue.
“Nilalagay sa ID na ‘priority’. Oras na may mararamdaman sila na konektado o may koneksyon sa dengue, mabibigyan sila ng prayoridad sa mga ospital kung saan sila pupunta,” he added.
Dumama also strongly urged residents to avail themselves of the measles vaccination program amid a vaccine scare prompted by reported Dengvaxia risks.
“Sana ho hindi muna natin pansinin 'yung Dengvaxia scare. Tututok tayo sa ibang bakuna kasi 'yun talaga ay makakatulong. 'Wag ho natin hahayaan na lumala. Hindi ho ito Dengvaxia,” he said.
The government halted its dengue immunization program after French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur bared in November that Dengvaxia may cause more severe dengue symptoms if given to those who have not yet contracted the mosquito-borne disease.