MANILA - The Philippines has started producing cards and wristbands that would be used in the health surveillance of recipients of controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday.
"Mahigit 1 milyon ang pinaimprenta ko kasi gusto ko bawat batang nabakunahan sa mga rehiyon ay matukoy at magandang pamamaraan iyung card plus iyung wristband, baller," Duque told DZMM.
(I ordered the printing of 1 million cards because this is a good way to monitor every inoculated child in the regions, plus wristbands and ballers.)
Dengvaxia could lead to "more cases of severe disease" if administered to those who have not had dengue before, French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur said. This prompted the government to suspend its vaccination program, but not before 730,000 public school children were inoculated.
Sanofi said that only 1 out of 10 Filipinos have no prior history of dengue and were the only ones facing the risk of contracting severe dengue.
Duque however reiterated that Sanofi committed " mental dishonesty" for not disclosing enough information on the vaccine.
The firm had claimed that it did not observe grade 4 or severe dengue among trial test subjects. A 12-year-old child from Tarlac, however, experienced grade 3 or moderate to severe dengue after receiving Dengvaxia, he said in a press conference last week.
The child's symptoms included hypotension, low blood pressure and slow heart rate. She later recovered from her illness, he said.
Duque urged the pharmaceutical giant to help provide medical assistance to recipients of their vaccine.
"Sila ang nagbenta ng Dengvaxia, sila ang nagbigay ng advisory na nag-create ng public uproar at pangangamba. Dapat siguro sila, on their own initiative, ay sabihin nilang tutulong kami... Walang sinabi kundi 'safe ang aming bakuna,'" he said.