Duterte says may lift ban on dengue vaccine

A government worker uses a fumigation device to get rid of mosquitoes

A government worker uses a fumigation device to get rid of mosquitoes

Romualdez said she has been in close communication with DOH officials in Region VIII to map out plans on how to prevent the dengue outbreak in the region from turning a full-blown epidemic.

The situation has caused hundreds of deaths this year in the wake of a government ban on a vaccine developed by a French company to counter the ailment, The Guardianreports. The towns of Wa-o and Marantao in Lanao del Sur have the most number of dengue cases in the province which are adjacent to Marawi City where most displaced people stay.

If the government made a decision to revive the use of the vaccine (Dengvaxia), it would be administered with "utmost caution", according to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo. It said the outbreak caused 622 deaths. "It's an epidemic. Now compare it vis-a-vis, with those who died (allegedly due to the vaccine)", Duterte told reporters.

The vaccine, now licensed in 20 countries according to the World Health Organization, is approved for use for those aged 9 and older. Through Aug. 7, the Ministry of Health has reported 81,120 dengue fever cases this year, including 113 deaths.

But controversy arose after Sanofi disclosed a year later that it could worsen symptoms for people not previously infected by the virus.

Concerns over the dengue immunisation for almost 734,000 children aged nine or older sparked two congressional inquiries, a criminal investigation and a sharp fall in the number of parents seeking routine vaccinations for their children, the report continued.

The House committee on good government and public accountability, and committee on health came up with their findings and recommendations supporting House Resolution No. 444 for an inquiry in aid of legislation on the school-based immunization of Dengvaxia vaccine as introduced by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, and HR No. 480 for an inquiry to review the process and registration of the vaccine, P3.5-billion contract with Sanofi Pasteur Inc., examine relevant research and studies on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine and propose remedial measures as introduced by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing.

Dengue fever affects more than 400 million people each year around the world, according to the BBC, and a lot of them live in tropical areas. However, Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go suspended this requirement, which paved the way for Dengvaxia distributor Zuellig to get an outright five-year license without undergoing the one year provisional license to take care of the required number of patients.

Joint press conference to address the dengue epedemic held at Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Science Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña, and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Ricardo Jalad, among others. It's an epidemic. I want to hear the words of the experts, doctors.

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