CEBU - Doctors are closely monitoring a 10-year-old boy who was given the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine and is now suffering from dengue.
The child is currently confined at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.
According to the boy's mother, Jenny Ababon, her son experienced fever last Monday, which was followed by a nose bleed that prompted the family to bring him to the Talisay District Hospital.
The incident raises concern among their neighbors in Barangay Lawaan 3, Talisay City that their children, who also received the Dengvaxia vaccination in August, could also get ill.
The staff of Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health in Central Visayas are helping in the monitoring efforts to ensure the boy's health.
The Philippines earlier ordered French drugmaker Sanofi to stop the sale, distribution and marketing of its dengue vaccine in the country after the company last week warned it could worsen the disease in some cases.
The government has also suspended a program to immunize hundreds of thousands of children with Dengvaxia following Sanofi's findings released last week.
"In order to protect the general public, the Food and Drug Administration immediately directed Sanofi to suspend the sale/distribution/marketing of Dengvaxia and cause the withdrawal of Dengvaxia in the market pending compliance with the directives of the FDA," the Philippine government agency said in a statement on its website released late on Monday.
The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it supported the decision by the Philippines to suspend vaccinations with Dengvaxia until more information was available. It said its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization would meet to review evidence next week.
"Like many others in the Philippines, WHO is awaiting the expert analysis of new data and advice about its implications for use of the vaccine," the WHO said in a statement on its website.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration also directed Sanofi to conduct an information dissemination campaign and said all drug establishments should report any incidents if the vaccine was suspected to have caused any deaths or serious illnesses.
Sanofi said the risk of severe dengue occurring in previously uninfected people who were inoculated with Dengvaxia was about two in 1,000 and these individuals recovered with treatment.
"Only one in 800 of all dengue infections (including symptomless infections) could lead to a severe infection, and the increased risk identified from the new analysis translated to two additional cases of 'severe dengue' out of 1,000 previously dengue-uninfected people vaccinated over five years of follow-up," the company said in an emailed statement.
"In this group, all fully recovered with proper medical treatment."
Sanofi officials said on Monday in Manila that there had been no reported deaths related to the vaccine which was used to immunize nearly 734,000 children aged 9 and over in the Philippines.
They have received at least one dose of the vaccine as part of a government program that cost P3.5 billion. - with reports from Edgar Escalante, ABS-CBN News; Reuters