THE Davao City Health Office (CHO) and the Department of Health in Davao Region (DOH-11) said they have not released Dengvaxia, but private institutions might have released the vaccine.
But Sanofi medical director Ruby Dizon said at a news conference: "As far as we know, there are no reported deaths related to dengue vaccination. For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection".
Philippine health officials rolled out a 3.5 billion peso (S$93 million) vaccination programme using Dengvaxia in April last year, involving more than one million children.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday formally ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe to determine possible criminal liabilities of officials behind the project.
For now its mass vaccination programme - which was focused on areas where dengue was already widespread - has been suspended and hospital records are being checked for severe cases of the disease.
"Sanofi will propose that national regulatory agencies update the prescribing information, known as the label in many countries, requesting that healthcare professionals assess the likelihood of prior dengue infection in an individual before vaccinating", the statement read.
There have also been a considerable decrease of dengue cases in the first half of 2017, with only 43,770 cases reported for January 1 to July 1, 36.8% lower than the 69, 297 recorded during the same timeframe in 2016, according to the Manila Times.
"Based on studies, the children died of other causes and it just so happens that they were vaccinated", he added. "I will answer all questions at the right time and in the appropriate forum", she said in reply to InterAksyon when asked for her reaction to the issue. Children aged nine to 14 in Cebu province were administered the first dose of the vaccine.
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FDA, in an advisory, told the French firm to "suspend the sale/distribution/marketing" of Dengvaxia, pending "compliance with the directives of the FDA".
Singapore's Health Sciences Authority said last week that it flagged risks when Dengvaxia was approved there in October 2016, and was working with Sanofi to strengthen risk warnings on the drug's packaging. However, Department of Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo told Reuters the three referred to by the NGO died due to causes not related to the vaccine and Sanofi said no deaths had been reported as a result of the program.
Sanofi's definition of "severe dengue" merely referred to symptoms including 2 days of fever, a lower platelet count and bruising, said Sta. Ana.
"We fully cooperated and consulted with WHO prior to the implementation of this program".
And to make matters worse, the lack of information on what exactly is the severe disease that is forthcoming has ignited more speculation, adding fuel to the fire.
It said Wednesday that a new study has confirmed Dengvaxia's benefits for "those who had prior infection" with the potentially-lethal disease.
It is also essential to intensify efforts at getting rid of breeding places of dengue mosquitoes and seeing to it our surroundings are kept clean and orderly.