Philippines probes deaths suspected to be related to dengue vaccine

The Philippines is investigating the deaths of 14 children which were suspected of being related to the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, the use which was suspended by the government recently, the country’s health officials said on January 5. 

More than 800,000 school children received the vaccine last year in the world's first public dengue immunisation programme. (Source: Reuters)

More than 800,000 school children received the vaccine last year in the world's first public dengue immunisation programme. (Source: Reuters)



Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the government has assigned an independent panel of experts to review the cases and expects their findings in one or two weeks.

Assistant Health Secretary Enrique Domingo told reporters that the panel has been asked to investigate the cause of the deaths and whether they are related to the vaccination. 

More than 800,000 school children received the vaccine last year in the world's first public dengue immunisation programme.

However, in November last year, Sanofi released findings of a new study that said Dengvaxia could lead to severe infections for vaccinated people who caught dengue for the first time.

The company urged the Philippine government not to suspend the vaccine's use, saying it is still safe for those who have caught dengue earlier.

However, the disclosure triggered a public furore, with some parents blaming the vaccine for their children's deaths.
The Philippines Department of Health on December 1 put on hold its dengue immunisation programme at public schools. 

Dengue, a mosquito-borne illness, killed more than 1,000 people in the Philippines last year, the Health Department said. VNS

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