We hope that the boy who contracted dengue after being administered the vaccine Dengvaxia will recover from his ailment and that his parents keep a close watch over his health until after his system flushes out the medicine which is estimated to last for a good decade.
Jujen Ababon, who received the vaccine last August, was rushed to a hospital in Talisay City due to nose bleeding which continued despite his recovery from fever. As per latest report, he is recovering in a Naga City hospital and the Talisay City Council passed a resolution that will provide medical and financial assistance to him and his family.
As most anyone knows by now, Dengvaxia is supposed to worsen the severity of the symptoms associated with dengue on those who were administered the vaccine but were seronegative or had not yet contracted the disease, like Jujen Ababon.
Most anyone also knows to their chagrin that the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur is adamant that their vaccine works and that they conducted tests on children here in Cebu as part of their development of the vaccine despite the absence of data verifying this claim.
What is important now is for the Cebu local governments to make preparations in monitoring and handling the children who had the misfortune of being administered the vaccine even if they have not yet contracted the disease.
There are more than 150,000 people who were administered the vaccine, mostly schoolchildren and even some adults. We have yet to receive complete data from the Department of Health (DOH) on the breakdown of beneficiaries of the vaccine as well as the protocol to be observed by local health offices in handling those cases.
We are not even talking about whether the local governments coordinated with the DOH about setting up a fund or subsidy to fund the medical expenses of those unfortunate to have received the vaccine even if they were seronegative on the disease.
Speaking of subsidy, not a few legal groups are looking into the possibility of filing a class suit against Sanofi Pasteur for their botching of the vaccination program which also drew into the picture and humiliated the otherwise careful and pragmatic World Health Organization (WHO).
Among the objectives of the class suit, apart from demanding accountability from Sanofi and the officials responsible for approving the program like former Health Secretary Jeanette Guarin and even former President Benigno Aquino III, was to provide a subsidy or emergency fund through which the medical expenses of these recipients will be sourced and paid for.
That’s the least that the French firm, which had apparently rushed the vaccination program, and the officials responsible for this fiasco should do to compensate for their debacle. That doesn’t exclude any other obligations and violations that they committed which should be penalized under the law.
Again we hope that Jujen recovers from his ailment and that he and his parents will keep him safe from dengue along with the others who were promised protection from the disease only to be told that their protection is in reality a double-edged sword.