Philippines eyes 'heightened surveillance' of children who got dengue vaccine


Posted at Dec 11 2017 12:03 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2017 12:25 PM

MANILA - The Department of Health will be implementing heightened surveillance of all the children who were administered the controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are putting up a master list of all the affected children and a "dengue hotline" for their families as they monitor them for 5 years post-vaccination.

"Initially we have hired 30 surveillance officers but we will have to check on the ground exactly what the existing capacities are of the DOH regional offices," Duque said in Senate probe Monday.

The DOH has already suspended the dengue vaccine program after the make of Dengvaxia, Sanofi, revealed that its vaccine may cause more severe symptoms on those who had not been previously infected by the mosquito-borne disease.

During the hearing, a mother who claims her 12-year-old son got sick after being given Dengvaxia said she hopes present officials of the DOH can tell them what to do about the issue so they would not be too worried.

She also expressed frustration over the former DOH officials, particularly former Health Secretary Janette Garin, who were involved in the purchase of Dengvaxia.

"Pagpasensiyahan niyo na lang po pero gusto ko talagang sabihin ito sa mga taong behind this vaccine, especially former Secretary Garin, gusto ko lang po ding tanungin sa kanya kung nakakatulog pa ba siya nang mahimbing kasi kami po ay hindi na," she said.

Duque, for his part, vowed to help the mother and over 800,000 children who were administered the controversial dengue vaccine.