UP-PGH to present initial report on Dengvaxia-linked deaths Friday

By Leilani Junio

January 18, 2018, 7:28 pm

MANILA – The health department is expecting to receive the preliminary result of the review on the cause of death of 14 recipients of the Dengvaxia vaccine on Friday, an official said Thursday.

"Yung first 14 cases na ni-refer natin sa PGH (Philippine General Hospital), ang pangako nila ay by Friday, meron na silang preliminary report. So ine-expect natin na matatanggap yan bukas (The University of the Philippines-PGH panel promised to give the preliminary report on the first 14 cases referred to them on Friday. So we are expecting to receive that tomorrow)," Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said in an interview.

The department referred a total of 19 cases to the UP-PGH panel, which was formed to validate independently allegations of death due to Dengvaxia. The controversial dengue vaccine had been administered to more than 830,000 public school children under a government immunization program.

Domingo said they hope to receive an analysis on the cause of the deaths, if they were related to the dengue vaccine, and recommendations on further tests that would be needed.

The department is also expecting a separate report on Dengvaxia itself, he added.

The panel, on the other hand, has been tasked to focus its study on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and make recommendations on Dengvaxia’s use in the immunization program.

The two reports will guide the department in deciding whether or not to continue the use of the vaccine in its immunization program.

According to Domingo, they will use the guidelines to be issued by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) in the future.

Hindi kasi namin maiintay yung sa SAGE ng WHO. That will guide us siguro in the future. Pero kasi sabi ng SAGE baka April or May pa sila mag-co-come out with the results ng kanilang study and that's a little too long (We could no longer wait for the results of the WHO’s SAGE study. That would guide us in the future. But according to SAGE, the results would come out in April or May, and that’s a little too long),” he explained.

“We need to make some decisions now and Secretary (Francisco Duque III) wants those decisions to be made based on scientific evidence na pinag-aralan ng mga experts ng bansa (that were reviewed by the country’s experts)," he added.

The department will present the results of the panel investigation to the Senate on Monday.

The Senate has been looking into the administration of Dengvaxia to public school students after Sanofi Pasteur disclosed last November that Dengvaxia could result in severe dengue among those who had not been infected by the dengue virus before receiving the vaccine.

In its parallel investigation, the Public Attorney’s Office said their experts had found that the 14 children succumbed to Dengue Shock Syndrome. (PNA/Photo by Leilani S. Junio)