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DepEd to monitor children who received Dengvaxia vaccine

The Department of Education (DepEd) will monitor learners who have been given the controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

According to the department's press release on Sunday, Education chief Leonor Briones signed memorandum no. 199, which "directs all school administrators and school health personnel to review the master list of inoculated students, regardless of the number of doses received, identify them for close monitoring for any symptom, and initiate referral report."

DepEd said it will implement the monitoring system with the Department of Health and the Department of Local and Interior Government through local government units "to ensure the condition of learners in the National Capital Region (NCR), Regions 3 and 4A, and 7 who received the vaccine."

Other regions will also monitor their students' health in the event that they, too, were administered Dengvaxia by private doctors and through community-based vaccination.

On November 30, Sanofi Pasteur released an advisory saying that Dengvaxia should not be given to patients who have not been previously exposed to the virus.

The Philippines was the first Asian country to allow the sale of Dengvaxia, with the DOH launching its vaccination program in April 2016 during Dr. Janette Garin's term as Health Secretary. The vaccine is given in three doses six months apart.

Sanofi's announcement prompted Health Secretary Francisco Duque to stop the immunization program. The Food and Drug Administration also ordered a halt to the sale of the vaccine.

The DOH said at least 830,000 public school students have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and Cebu.

Parents and teachers

DepEd noted the importance of parents and teachers' involvement in monitoring the children.

"They may help by reporting cases of vaccinated students with fever to the text line that DOH will set up. Health workers of rural health units (RHUs) shall act on these text reports," the department said.

"Furthermore, parents are encouraged to participate in forums on the vaccine program and information drive against dengue in the community, which will be conducted by schools and trained health coordinators," it added.

DepEd also called on school administrators to adhere to the provisions of preventing dengue in schools and to ensure the regular conduct of vector control measures to eliminate mosquitoes.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, will probe the Dengvaxia mess on Monday.

The National Bureau of Investigation has started its investigation into the procurement of the dengue vaccine while the House of Representatives has yet to approve resolutions by congressmen to conduct its own inquiry. — Anna Felicia Bajo/BM, GMA News