Following the Department of Health’s (DOH) declaration of a national dengue epidemic, Senator Dick Gordon has called on the agency to continue monitoring and testing all 800,000 Dengvaxia-vaccinated children to determine if they were seronegative or do not have a previous history of dengue.
Gordon expressed concern over the health of children who were given the controversial vaccine but have not had dengue as no such screening was made when the decision to vaccinate was pushed by then Health Secretary Janette Garin.
The veteran legislator said children who never had dengue before are at a higher risk for developing severe dengue or even death if they acquire the illness now.
“If systems are not in place to immediately assist these children, we could lose so many of them.”
“If systems are not in place to immediately assist these children, we could lose so many of them. We are at a point where an outbreak threatens the lives of all the seronegative. Now is the time that we conduct studies on the efficacy of Dengvaxia and save as many children as we possibly can. I would like to suggest a task force or working group that can come up with a clear plan of action to protect our children who are now highly vulnerable,” the seasoned lawmaker said.
According to the senator, since the Department of Health (DepEd) had already ordered public schools in the regions where the Dengvaxia vaccination was conducted to go over the names of pupils who received the vaccine, the DOH and DepEd should immediately check these children for any symptoms.
“We need to have a strong surveillance system for vaccinated children so that we can immediately send them to hospitals for immediate and proper treatment. We should protect these children from a more serious case. Another important thing is, the DOH should be very patient in monitoring these children as dengue cannot be detected at an early stage. Sometimes, there are no warning signs. Malalaman mo na lang, malala na.” he said.
“The investigation on the issue on Dengvaxia should continue.”
Moreover, Gordon stated that the investigation on the issue on Dengvaxia should continue so that proper charges can be filed against those who are accountable for the incident.
During the hearings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, it was noted that the budget for the procurement of Dengvaxia was not in the General Appropriations Act and there were clear violations of the existing laws on procurement.
Aside from these, instead of using the vaccine under the direct supervision of a doctor, it was used for mass vaccination and there was inconsistent screening for contraindications.
“Magdadalawang taon na pero wala pa ring hustisya. Why are we not doing anything about it? We should identify those accountable for such irresponsible and careless act. Kailangang may managot sa isyu na iyan,” he concluded.