By ELINANDO B. CINCO
The past week has certainly been an exciting one for Dengvaxia. If there is one story that can be truly divisive or can be made to be one, it is this. Let us look closer at the facts then.
Dengue has been in the Philippines since 1926, with subsequent major outbreaks in 1953, 1966 (the Great Manila Epidemic), 1998 were over 32,000 cases and 500 deaths recorded. From 2000 to 2009, a steady yearly increase in cases was reported until 2010 when the cases saw a tremendous 140% increase breaching the 100,000 mark with over 700 deaths (WHO figures were at 799 deaths) being reported.
The succeeding year 2011, the Philippines ranked 4th in ASEAN with almost 130,000 cases nationwide according to the WHO. This affliction on our country only increased thereafter where 2013, 2015, and 2016 marked the highest recorded incidents and cases of Dengue breaching the 200,000 cases mark in 2013!
At this point, we were already No. 1 in the Western Pacific region as identified by the WHO when it came to the prevalence and incidence of dengue. All through these years, the most afflicted segment of our society were those aged 5-14 years old with the highest recorded deaths of 1,021 in 2016.
So, did the Philippines have at th
Now, people are shouting corruption, conspiracy, experimentation, and a whole slew of accusations at former officials because of the haste in the purchase. Dr. Ted Herbosa, an undersecretary and bidding committee head during the time of Secretary Ona, a staunch critic of the immunization program, even said that there was no evidence of corruption. Only Senator Gordon believed that there is a case of corruption. If he had it his way, he would have probably given all P3.5 billion to the Red Cross. But luckily…he was on the side-lines and politically out of the limelight at that time.
Was there experimentation before the vaccination? Yes! Over 23 years as Sanofi would claim in different parts of the globe, in over 15 countries afflicted with the dengue disease/virus! Including the Philippines where dengue is hyper-endemic or is present year round! If other countries approved the drug, why shouldn’t we approve it, given the data and history of dengue in the Philippines? The fact is there was no cure until Dengvaxia was discovered or created. At that time, how would the officials have known that additional findings would arise?
at time the luxury to wait? Or did government officials have to act and act swiftly when a vaccine was found? The history of Dengue outbreaks would defend their decision to act in the manner they did. Find a solution and implement it!