Villanueva wants DOH, Sanofi held accountable for haphazard release of anti-dengue vaccine

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Senator Joel Villanueva on Friday called on the Department of Health (DOH) and French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur following an advisory from the latter that Dengvaxia vaccine could cause more severe cases of dengue if administered on a person who had not been previously infected by the virus.

Dengvaxia, world’s first anti-dengue vaccine, has been administered to Filipino grade-schoolers since April 2016 under the government’s school-based vaccination program.

“We should hold the appropriate DOH officials responsible for haphazardly allowing the vaccine to be administered to students, without extensive due diligence on the effects of the drugs and without waiting for the results of a comprehensive clinical trial,” Villanueva said.

“Sanofi should also be made accountable for their haphazard release of the drugs without complete and proper clinical studies,” Villanueva added.

Villanueva stressed that the DOH has already been forewarned about the risk of the vaccine as revealed during a previous Senate investigation on the issue.

The senator also expressed his disappointment that Sanofi has only recently revealed the result of their clinical study after the DOH has already purchased P3 billion worth of the vaccine.

Villanueva further urged the health department to launch a nationwide campaign to inform the parents of the vaccinated students about the risks posed by Dengvaxia.

“We call on the DOH to review its protocols in initiating mass vaccination and undertake a massive information campaign to inform the public of the dangers of administering this vaccine,” Villanueva stressed.

“The DOH and the Department of Education should also closely monitor the kids that were vaccinated and ensure that proper medical support will be provided to them,” Villanueva said.

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