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Dengvaxia not for mass vaccination —DOH

The Department of Health has expressed reservations for Dengvaxia being used for mass vaccination programs against dengue.

According to Tina Panganiban-Perez's report on "24 Oras", Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the country has no way to test whether or not a person previously had the disease.

"Hindi siya for mass vaccination. Kasi wala tayong screening test available to check the general public kung ikaw ay nagka-dengue na dati o hindi pa," Domingo said.

Domingo said there was still no alternative vaccine to combat dengue infection.

Domingo made the remarks after former Health Secretary Janette Garin, now a congresswoman representing Iloilo, suggested that Dengvaxia be allowed to return to the market amid the steep rise in the number of dengue cases so far this year.

Garin's proposal was supported by former President Benigno Aquino III, under whose watch the anti-dengue immunization program was launched.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo indicated that the administration was open to Dengvaxia again being used in the country.

“That has to be discussed thoroughly, extensively, maybe [by] the experts to support any call for the return of Dengvaxia,” Panelo told reporters.

“If the weight of the findings show that there is benefit using Dengvaxia against dengue then certainly the government should consider it," he added.

The Dengvaxia controversy arose in November 2017 when manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur announced that the vaccine may lead to more severe symptoms of dengue for those who have never been infected by the virus prior to vaccination.

As a result, the DOH stopped the school-based dengue immunization program and proposed to Duterte a panel of Asian health experts that will look into safety issues raised against the vaccine.

Several criminal complaints in connection with deaths allegedly linked to Dengvaxia have also been filed by the Public Attorney’s Office before the Department of Justice. —NB, GMA News