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Ex-DOH chief Garin says dengue vaccine program meets WHO standards

The health secretary who first implemented the government's dengue vaccination program under the Aquino administration on Friday said that the campaign was conducted in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines.

According to Maki Pulido's report on "24 Oras", Garin made the remark after the Department of Health put on hold the vaccination program after the vaccine manufacturer raised health concerns.

"The school based dengue vaccination program was implemented according to the guidelines and criteria set forth by WHO," former Health Secretary Janette Garin said in a text message to GMA News.

"(Implementation) was based on the recommendations of experts and was in line with WHO, based on assessing benefits vs risks," she said.

"The current development is to be considered and we are awaiting updates from experts as well as the other countries who have a similar program," Garin said.

On Thursday, pharmaceutical company Sanofi said the vaccine Dengvaxia is only safe and effective in the long run for people who have been infected with dengue before they were vaccinated.

It has advised against prescribing the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia to patients who have not been infected by the virus in the past, since it may cause severe diseases in the long run, or after the at-least-30-month period wherein a vaccinated person is prevented from being infected with dengue.

Duque said the WHO panel is expected to release its recommendation by the second week of December.

"Gayunpaman pinahinto muna natin ang pagbibigay ng dengue vaccine," Duque said. —Margaret Claire Layug/NB, GMA News