A 10-year-old boy has been admitted to a hospital in Cebu due to suspected dengue, months after he received a first dose of controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
According to a report by Sandra Aguinaldo on 24 Oras on Thursday, Jujen Ababon was brought to Talisay City District Hospital on Wednesday after experiencing nosebleed and on-and-off fever.
Jujen had his first shot of Dengvaxia in August. Dengvaxia is administered in three doses, each six months apart.
His mother, Jenny Ababon, said their family was not able to bring Jujen immediately to the hospital due to financial problems.
“Pina-check-up namin doon sa semi-private na doctor para madali raw ang results sa platelets. Okay lang daw at makakaya sa gamot,” Ababon said, adding that this was the first time that her son had dengue.
Because of a lack of beds, Jujen was transferred from the district hospital to a private hospital. The Department of Health (DOH) Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit is currently monitoring his condition as a “suspected case of dengue.”
Last week, the DOH suspended the use of Dengvaxia after French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine's manufacturer, issued a statement warning against using the vaccine on patients who have never been sick with dengue.
Sanofi said results of a recent study had showed it can actually put at risk people who have not been previously exposed to the virus.
The Philippines was the first Asian country to allow the sale of the world's dengue vaccine. The government's dengue vaccination program began in April 2016 under the term of former DOH chief Janette Garin.
More than 733,000 children aged nine years old and above from public schools in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon have been given doses of Dengvaxia.
The Blue Ribbon and health committees are scheduled to conduct a joint hearing on December 11 on the issue. Garin, other former DOH officials, and representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Sanofi have been invited to attend.
Senator JV Ejercito, chairman of the Senate health committee, earlier said that former President Benigno Aquino III's meetings with Sanofi is also “something to look into.”
He was referring to Aquino's meeting with officials of Sanofi on November 9, 2014 in Beijing and on December 1, 2015 in Paris.
Aquino has not been invited to the hearing next week.
“Maganda sana kung marinig ‘yung side niya because ‘yung dalawang chance or meetings with Sanofi Pasteur officials, siyempre iba ‘yung naiisip mo eh. Bakit nagkaroon ng meeting with the President prior to the acquisition of a big amount, a big quantity of dengvaxia vaccine,” Ejercito said.
Meanwhile, the minority bloc of the House of Representatives has filed a resolution, calling for an investigation on the said vaccine.
“Ang minority po ay nag-file ng House resolution to investigate, in aid of legislation plus we're going to file a case against the people involved, both government and private entity po,” said ACTS OFW party-list Representative John Bertiz.
The DOH's dengue vaccination program has been suspended pending recommendation from experts from the WHO.
The DOH is also conducting probe into the death of Christine May de Guzman, a Grade 5 student in Bataan who received a shot of dengvaxia months before she died.