Senator JV Ejercito on Friday sought a Senate probe on the Department of Health (DOH) and pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur for the controversial dengue-vaccine given to half a million schoolchildren in the country.
But the conduct of the inquiry, however, will have to wait until officials findings and recommendations by medical experts have been made,
Estrada, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, said he would seek expert opinion on the vaccines prior to launching a probe on the flawed vaccine.
Ejercito joined those who have expressed concern over what he claimed as disturbing findings related to the vaccine Dengvaxia, specifically on its possible side effects on those who have not had dengue in the past.
“I am convening a probe on the disturbing new findings that the dengue vaccine called Dengvaxia may cause serious disease to those who have not previously contracted the disease. My committee will invite current DOH Secretary Francisco Duque and former Secretary Paulyn Ubial in order to find out what actions will government take to protect those who may be exposed to the drug’s negative effect,” he said.
Ejercito said he intends to conduct the investigation, likely to start in January, jointly with the Blue Ribbon Committee to ascertain if there was any irregularity in the procurement of the vaccine.
“I strongly advice the public to remain calm and wait for the advice and instruction of the DoH. I urge parents to consult their doctors before doing anything as a reaction to this development,” he said.
“We will let the experts and doctors and the DOH deal with the issue first then will wait for their findings and recommendations,” he said.
Sanofi Pasteur said that Dengvaxia may have indications to 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.