THREE children who landed in hospital weeks after they were inoculated with Dengvaxia are under observation after showing symptoms of dengue, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said on Monday.
According to Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the VACC, the three children, aged 11, 14 and 16, were rushed to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) Sunday (December 31) after they showed dengue symptoms.
Two of the victims (11-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy) were from barangay (village) 199, zone 20, Rivera Village, Pasay City. They received the anti-dengue vaccine late last year.
The 11-year-old, based on the information received by the VACC, completed all three Dengvaxia shots. On and off, she complained of having abdominal pains.
She was recommended for admission, but her family decided to bring her home, vowing to return to the hospital if the pain persisted.
As for the 16-year-old Dengvaxia recipient, initial diagnosis found that he has viral exanthem (tigdas hangin) and rashes were observed on his face and body.
It was learned that he received the first dose of Dengvaxia in October 2017.
The third patient, a 14-year-old boy, was given two doses of the vaccine also in October. Initial diagnosis found that he has Pott’s disease (tuberculosis of the spine).
He started complaining of severe back pain after receiving the Dengvaxia shots. He had been unable to stand or walk since last year.
The patient was transferred to the PCMC after he was denied admission at the Philippine General Hospital.
According to Jimenez, a doctor said the two male patients should not have been given Dengvaxia because they are not included in the target population of 9-year-old Grade 4 students.
The Department of Health (DOH) during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd launched the school-based anti-dengue vaccination program in April 2016. The program only covered 9-year-old public school students in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon).
Since the program was launched, about 850,000 school children have been inoculated with the world’s first-ever dengue vaccine created by pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur.
In November 2017, Sanofi issued a statement admitting that Dengvaxia could increase risk of hospitalization for dengue and severe dengue on individuals who have not been previously infected by the disease.
The VACC and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) are currently providing free legal support to the families of two children who died months after being inoculated with Dengvaxia.
Christine Mae de Guzman of Bataan died in October 2016, six months after receiving the initial shot of the anti-dengue vaccine.
According to her parents, Christine never had dengue before her vaccination in April 2016.
Meanwhile, 10-year-old Anjielica Pestilos of Quezon City died on December 6, 2017 at the East Avenue Medical Center.
Like Christine, Angelica was never infected with dengue. She received Dengvaxia in September 2017.
Jimenez said his group is working on the possible exhumation of another possible Dengvaxia victim but he declined to provide further details.
He called on Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd to act on the VACC’s letter asking for the list of children who received the vaccine.
Jimenez explained that they are asking for the list of children who have not been infected by dengue but have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia. He said they want to provide assistance to the children and monitor them because of the health risk posed by the vaccine.
“The DOH should have acted on our request within 15 days but we have yet to receive the list,” the VACC chief added.