MANILA, Philippines (First published 12:00 a.m.)
— Nearly a thousand children in public schools had fallen ill over a five-month period after receiving their first dose of the controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, The STAR learned yesterday.
According to a draft report of the House of Representatives committee on health, which conducted hearings on the efficacy of the vaccine, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that between March 18, 2016 and Aug. 20 of the same year, there were 997 “adverse events following immunization, 30 of which were considered serious cases that needed hospitalization.”
The 30 serious cases included two deaths. But the DOH said these “were not related to the immunization program,” which was launched in early 2016.
While the DOH said there were only two deaths, based on information reaching the committee on health, at least four children had died.
Asked to explain what the term “adverse events” meant, Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, who chairs the committee on health and is a medical doctor, said, “It means that the 997 children got sick after being inoculated with their first dose of Dengvaxia.”
“Their sickness ranged from as simple as fever, nausea, vomiting and body pain, to serious illness that required hospital confinement. The DOH did not have other details, highlighting its lack of proper monitoring and reporting protocols before undertaking the program,” Tan said.