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Palma asks probe on vaccine fiasco

Palma asks probe on vaccine fiascoā€¯

HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd said on Thursday that the government would sue Sanofi Pasteur, the pharmaceutical company that manufactured Dengvaxia, the dengue vaccine that turned out to be more harmful than beneficial in treating patients infected for the first time by the mosquito-borne disease.

The previous administration of president Benigno Aquino launched the vaccination programme a year ago, making the Philippines the first nation to use Dengvaxia on a mass scale.

Dr Suwanchai said while waiting for the World Health Organization to formally react to the matter, all the DDC could do is assure people who have already acquired dengue immunity after a previous infection that they will experience less severe symptoms after getting the shot.

About 830,000 schoolchildren had received at least one dose of the vaccine, Duque said on Thursday.

The French company on Monday sought to allay concerns, saying Dengvaxia would not cause anyone who was immunised to die and would not cause a dengue infection.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn also said the ministry has not actually focused on the use of a dengue vaccine as a key means of preventing the disease.

DOH asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to help monitor the children who have been vaccinated.

"Eventually it's the court of law that is going to decide in so far as the liability of Sanofi is concerned", Duque said.

He added: "If it's found out that (Sanofi) withheld material information that would have changed the outcome of all of these problems and the decision makers of the Department of Health in the previous administration, then they are liable".

"I think the former president should himself come forward. and say, 'This is what happened and this is what I agreed to based on some recommendation that I followed because somebody had advised me", Duque told ANC's "Headstart". He said those responsible for the fiasco should be investigated and sanctioned.



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