There have been no reported deaths in the Philippines related to a suspended dengue vaccine made by Sanofi, an official from the pharmaceutical company said on Monday.
While Dengvaxia is the first-ever approved vaccine for dengue, scientists and researchers have already recognized it was not perfect and did not protect equally against the four different types of the dengue virus in clinical tests.
Over 700,000 Filipino children were vaccinated with a dose of Dengvaxia last year in line with the recommendation of the World Health Organization for mass vaccination in highly endemic countries.
Sanofi executives also stressed that the drug would still be beneficial to majority of Filipinos, given that nine out of ten of them aged nine to 14 years old had already been infected with dengue but not all of them were hospitalized for the illness, given that three-fourths of dengue cases were asymptomatic.
Dr. Nevio Zagaria, WHO country representative in Yemen, told Reuters that 16 percent of Yemeni children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition, including 5.2 percent with a severe form that is life-threatening, and the problem is increasing.
More than 1,000 people in the Philippines died from dengue last year, out of more than 211,000 suspected cases, according to the government.
"I will have it investigated and I will prepare ASAP the appropriate department order (DO)". It said it will ask health authorities to update information provided to physicians and patients. Ana said in a press conference Monday.
Despite zero deaths, Sanofi said there is a higher chance of hospitalization for those who will be infected with dengue virus for the first time since getting vaccinated.
"In addition, the producer has to meet seven conditions before the product can be brought into Malaysia".
Meanwhile, Sanofi Pasteur medical director Dr. Ruby Dizon stressed that a person's exposure to the dengue virus causes the disease and not the Dengvaxia vaccine itself.
Those who had been vaccinated "are being followed up for adverse effects", he said.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said he will order the National Bureau of Investigation to determine if Sanofi Pasteur, which manufactures the vaccine, gave the Department of Health "proper warning" on the vaccine's possible risks.
"We understand the concern of our people, especially the parents and the relatives of public elementary children residing in Regions III (Central Luzon), IV-A (Calabarzon), and NCR (Metro Manila), where the dengue vaccination initiative was launched by the previous administration", Roque said.