By Mario Casayuran
Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian asked Sunday the Department on Education (DepEd) to order the identification and monitoring of students immunized with the controversial Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) ‘’to help parents at ease.’’
Gatchalian, a member of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, made the call as the government has already stopped the school and community-based anti-dengue immunization program jointly instituted by the Department of Health (DoH), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and DepEd.
Sanofi Pasteur has announced the possible negative effect on children who did not have dengue prior to vaccination.
Those who were immunized were Filipino children between nine to eighteen years of age.
“Teachers and administrative leaders of all schools involved should join forces in creating a database of students who were immunized by Dengvaxia. Students who are showing symptoms of dengue should immediately be brought to the doctor to prevent future complications,” Gatchalian said.
The vaccine has caused a nationwide panic after the deaths of 14 children which were alleged to be linked to Dengvaxia.
‘’However, there are still no conclusive findings that would directly link the vaccine to the deaths. This led Sanofi Pasteur to deny the request of DoH for a full refund for the used vaccines and support for an indemnification fund,’’ he pointed out.
Gatchalian stressed that despite the lack of conclusive findings, Sanofi Pasteur and DoH officials from the Aquino administration are not yet out of the woods.
“The investigation is still not over,’’ he said.
‘’Due to the complex medical science and emerging technologies involved in studying the long-term effects of the vaccine, it will take a while before the truth really comes out. We can’t blame parents for worrying about the health and safety of their children,” he added.