House panel to reopen Dengvaxia probe

Rg Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2017 03:25 PM | Updated as of Dec 07 2017 11:29 PM

A pharmacist shows the Dengvaxia vaccine kept inside a refrigerator at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/file photo

MANILA (UPDATED) - The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability is set to reopen next week the congressional inquiry into the controversial dengue vaccine that has triggered a health scare, a lawmaker said Thursday. 

"We are reopening the case [be]cause of recent developments. We will have a hearing on December 13," committee chair Rep. Johnny Pimentel told ABS-CBN News on Thursday.

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This, after the Department of Health (DOH) suspended the dengue vaccination program after drug-maker Sanofi Pasteur disclosed that its Dengvaxia vaccine may cause "more cases of severe disease" if given to those who have not had the mosquito-borne illness before.

The Food and Drug Administration has also ordered Sanofi to suspend the sale of its dengue vaccine following the company's advisory against its own product.

An inquiry into the vaccine was first conducted by the House Committee on Health last year. The panel held 3 hearings on the Dengvaxia vaccine from Nov. 9 to Dec. 12, 2016 before terminating its investigation.

The panel's draft report showed that during the hearings, lawmakers recognized conflicting theories of experts on the dengue vaccine and weaknesses in the DOH monitoring and surveillance system of adverse events after immunization, among others.

The health committee recommended then that the DOH suspend the expansion of its school-based immunization programs to other regions until full evaluation by the health department.