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05 December 2017, 04:48 | Melissa Porter
Philippines government investigates Dengvaxia dengue vaccine
Yesterday, the Philippines government ordered an investigation into the immunisation of more than 7.3 lakh children with the company's denguevaccine.
The order comes days after the Southeast Asian nation suspended a government program to immunize hundreds of thousands of children with Dengvaxia following Sanofi's findings released last week.
The WHO Country Office said it had acknowledged in "mid-April 2016 that these conditions appeared to be met in the 3 regions of the Philippines in which the dengue vaccination effort was already ongoing at that time - noting that the decision to roll out the vaccine had been taken by the DOH before WHO's advice became available".
According to United Kingdom public broadcaster the BBC, Sanofi said in a press conference in Manila on Monday that there had been no reported deaths related to its dengue vaccine in the Philippines.
A nurse arranges boxes of Sanofi's dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, which have been recalled from local health centers, in the district of Manila on December 5, 2017. An analysis of long-term clinical data had revealed that, in individuals who had never contracted dengue, the vaccine could make subsequent infections more severe.
"Only one in 800 of all dengue infections (including symptomless infections) could lead to a severe infection, and the increased risk identified from the new analysis translated to two additional cases of "severe dengue" out of 1,000 previously dengue-uninfected people vaccinated over five years of follow-up", the company said in an emailed statement.
Over 733,000 students from public schools in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon, nine years old and above, have received at least the first of three doses of the vaccine.
Dengvaxia is the first approved dengue vaccine, and generates approximately $1 billion in sales every year for Sanofi.
To allay the fears of the public, Malacañang on Monday reminded the public to not panic over the government's dengue vaccination program, saying the Department of Justice (DOJ) will start an inquiry on the purchase of the drug. The organization has said that it hoped to conduct a full review by the end of the year on the vaccine.
"The WHO position paper did not include a recommendation to countries to introduce the dengue vaccine into their national immunization programs".
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