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Father seeks justice for daughter who died of dengue 6 months after Dengvaxia shot

The father of the Grade 5 student who died of severe dengue after receiving the world’s first dengue vaccine Dengvaxia on Thursday called for justice, saying that someone should be held liable for the vaccination program.

Nelson de Guzman, father of Christine Mae said that they already sought assistance from the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), who had asked the Department of Justice to examine the bodies of three children believed to have died due to the effects of Dengvaxia shots.

“Talagang kailangan managot kung sino po ‘yan, siguro kung hindi pa nasaksakan ang anak ko baka buhay pa po siya ngayon,” De Guzman said in an interview on "Dobol B sa News TV" on Thursday.

“Tutulungan daw po kami na panagutin kung sino ang puno’t dulo nung gumawa sa vaccination na ‘yan,” he added.

Christine, who had no history of dengue infection, developed severe headache and fever on October 11, 2016, was rushed to the Bataan General Hospital on October 14, and died on October 15. She received the first Dengvaxia shot in April 2016 when the vaccination program of the Department of Health was launched.

De Guzman said that they have documents that will prove that her eldest daughter had received the Dengvaxia vaccine.

“Meron po kaming pinanghahawakan na card niya,” he said.

Even after a year her daughter’s death, he said that they have yet to receive assistance from the Department of Health and from their local government unit.

French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur had advised against administering Dengvaxia vaccine to children who have not had dengue in the past as it may cause severe diseases in the long run.

After six years of studying clinical data, Sanofi said it has found out that Dengvaxia was only beneficial in the prevention of dengue fever to those who have already suffered from the other serotypes of the virus.

The global pharmaceutical firm, however, clarified that the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia "does not contain any viruses that can make people ill with dengue or severe dengue."

It said that a "subsequent exposure" to the virus will cause "severe dengue" which the firm said was not deadly.

The DOH has already put on hold the government's vaccination program after Sanofi raised health concerns over the vaccine, while the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines ordered the suspension of the sale, distribution, and marketing of Dengvaxia.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier issued Department Order No. 763, ordering the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate and build a case against those responsible for supposedly placing public health in danger.

The NBI will determine whether Sanofi has communicated with the DOH the proper warning that the vaccine should not be given to somebody who has not contracted dengue before.

In December 2015, the Philippines was the first Asian country to clear the dengue vaccine and approve its distribution within a month of clearing its use. —Marlly Rome Bondoc/LBG/KG/VS/RSJ, GMA News