TWO more children from the provinces of Quezon and Laguna who were inoculated with the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia died on Sunday, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said, quoting reports they received from a joint monitoring team.
The group said 52 children administered with the vaccine were being treated at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.
Dante Jimenez, chairman of the VACC, on Sunday said he received information about the two deaths from the joint monitoring team of the VACC and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).
“They are now verifying the incidents and the PAO forensics are expected to conduct an autopsy on the victims either today or tomorrow (Monday),” Jimenez said in an interview with The Manila Times.
He did not provide further details on the profiles of the victims.
“Something should be done immediately. This is already becoming a catastrophe. Dengvaxia-related deaths are happening on a daily basis,” Jimenez added.
Including these latest reports from Quezon and Laguna, the number of children’s deaths linked to Dengvaxia has jumped to 13.
The VACC chief revealed that 52 children who were inoculated with Dengvaxia were confined at the San Larazo Hospital.
The figure does not include the children currently confined at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and other government hospitals in Metro Manila.
Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta confirmed the hospitalization of 52 children, saying the patients came from Iloilo.
“Similar ang findings [the findings are similar]…’yung mga bata nahihilo, nilalagnat, sumasakit ang katawan at may nakitang mga rashes sa kanila [the children were feeling dizzy, feverish, experiencing body pain, and had rashes],” Acosta said.
These are some of the most common symptoms of dengue, including muscle and joint pain, nausea and vomiting, and bleeding from the mouth and nose.
“Bakit nila ginamit ng walang screening at walang clinical trial [why did they use the vaccine without conducting a screening and clinical trials? Halos dalawa ang ino-autopsy namin sa isang araw (kaugnay ng) kasong ‘to [PAO has been conducting at least two autopsies a day in relation to the case],” Acosta said.
French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur announced in November last year that the Dengvaxia vaccine might cause severe symptoms of dengue to those inoculated with it without prior exposure to the infection.
Last week, PAO conducted a forensic examination on the 11th suspected Dengvaxia fatality in Caloocan City.
The boy, Aejay Bautista, died after a five-day bout with dengue. He was previously inoculated with Dengvaxia, the world’s first anti-dengue vaccine, which was developed by Sanofi Pasteur.
The VACC said about 830,000 children from public schools in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon and Cebu have been injected with Dengvaxia since 2016.
More than 300 families of recipients of the vaccine have sought the PAO’s assistance as of January.
Acosta said PAO is preparing documents for the legal actions it plans to take against those responsible for the deaths.
“Yung affidavits of complainants, complete na [the affidavits of complainants are now complete]. Documents are being consolidated for the filing of charges against those who are behind this,” she said.
The Department of Health suspended the dengue vaccination program in December after Sanofi issued a warning that Dengvaxia may causes severe dengue on those who have not been infected with the virus.
WITH GLEE JALEA