DOH says deaths not related to anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia

By Futch Anthony Inso |March 07,2018 - 12:08 AM

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque personally performs check-up on children given the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia during an inspection at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila where around 50-100 children are tested for any dengue-related illnesses. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Urges parents to complete children’s immunization

The Department of Health (DOH)-7 has clarified that of the four deaths recorded so far of children who received Dengvaxia shots in Cebu, not one had been caused by the anti-dengue vaccine.

A 10-year-old girl from San Fernando town was the latest recorded death following post-dengue vaccination but her death was due to congenital heart disease based on the autopsy conducted by the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

DOH-7 Regional Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas said that all four died of different causes not related to Dengvaxia as he stressed that the health department’s immunization program has been proven safe and effective.

“They don’t have any history of dengue infection, no active dengue infection, so there was no past evidence that they have been infected with dengue before. Not even the response to the first dose of dengvaxia, because if they already have been immunized, there should have been a response with the vaccine and an increase of antibodies and antigens inside our body,” Bernadas said.

He said that the DOH will treat them as individual patients, who were vaccinated with dengvaxia having different complaints relative to their admission based on laboratory tests and autopsy reports.

“The first one died because of tuberculosis-meningitis, the second patient was diagnosed with aplastic anemia while the third patient had rheumatic heart disease,” he added.

Bernadas also said that the government will extend all necessary assistance to patients who got innoculated, irrespective of how many times they need to be admitted to hospitals.

“The government will shoulder (the expenses), especially if the patient has already exhausted his/her benefits from PhilHealth. It’s the mandate of the government to support. We encouraged public hospitals to let them avail of the no-balance-billing and free services as we are also looking for other sources of funds for assistance,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bernadas also encouraged parents to support the DOH’s vaccination program.

He revealed that some areas in Central Visayas have recorded low compliance in administering other vaccines to children, especially the anti-measles vaccine.

Bernadas said that because of low compliance, some areas like Davao and Taguig, have already reported an outbreak of measles.

He is also afraid that the same might happen in Negros Oriental, where measles have been reported in at least seven towns there.

“Measles is a preventable disease if only their children were immunized. That’s why I’m urging the parents to submit their children to our National Immunization Program. Bring them to the hospitals and health centers for their regular immunization schedules,” Bernadas added.

Bernadas though, declined to elaborate on the Negros situation saying they are still in the process of collecting data.

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