Philippines: 3 deaths may be linked to dengue vaccinations


Philippine health officials said Friday that the deaths of three children injected with a Sanofi Pasteur dengue vaccine may have "causal association" to the inoculation, including two who may have died because the vaccine failed.

The Philippine government halted its massive immunization drive last year after Sanofi said a study showed the vaccine may increase the risks of dengue in people vaccinated prior to infection. More than 830,000 children were injected with the Dengvaxia vaccine, health officials said.

"This issue continues to sow fear and confusion, especially to the parents of children who have been injected with Dengvaxia," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III's office said in a statement. "We aim to give clarity on the issues with an honest and objective reporting of the evidence and science."

Duque said further study was needed on the vaccine. Investigators found no evidence the rest of the 14 reported child deaths were related to the vaccine.

Dr. Juliet Sio-Aguilar, who led the investigation, told a news conference that only one of the three dead children had developed dengue antibodies, which would have served as a protection against an infection, but still died.

"We really want to know what happened," she said.

Sanofi Pasteur officials did not immediately issue any comment.

The investigation results on the three deaths will be submitted to the Department of Justice, which is looking into possible criminal liabilities, Duque said.

Two weeks ago, Duque told reporters that Sanofi Pasteur has agreed to take back huge stocks of Dengvaxia that have not been used and pay back more than a billion pesos ($20 million) to the Philippine government.

Sanofi Pasteur said in December that its long-term follow-up study of the vaccine showed sustained benefits for up to six years for those who had a previous dengue infection, but that people who never had dengue had an increased risk of a severe case and hospitalization from the third year after immunization.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection found in tropical countries worldwide. It is a flu-like disease that can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash and can cause breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure in severe cases.

WHO says about half the world's population is at risk of dengue, with a recent estimate indicating 390 million infections per year. In the Philippines, about 200,000 dengue infections are reported each year, with less than 1 percent resulting in deaths, the Department of Health says.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Health

Hundreds join annual heart walk at Upper Valley Mall
Hundreds join annual heart walk at Upper Valley Mall

More than 300 people, mostly in red, participated in the annual Clark and Champaign Counties Heart Walk today at the Upper Valley Mall. The local walk joins efforts by the American Heart Association to fight heart disease and stroke. The annual event also featured vendor booths and a health fair, and was sponsored by Springfield Regional Medical Center...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. Colgate Mouthwash This week at CVS, Colgate mouthwash is on sale for $5.99. Use the $2 off one Colgate mouthwash coupon found in most of today’s SmartSource inserts. When you check out, you will also get $1 back in ExtraBucks good off your next purchase...
Are we overprotecting our kids? Recent sports stories suggest we are

Two recent situations from the world of sports raise concerns about how we are overprotecting our kids. The first incident involved Gisele Bundchen, wife of Patriot quarterback Tom Brady. After a heartbreaking loss in the recent Super Bowl, Bundchen tried to console her 5-year-old daughter, Vivian, and 8-year-old son, Ben. “…Daddy won...
D.L. STEWART: New law may help keep Swiss lobsters out of hot water

Adding to its reputation as the most pacifistic of nations, Switzerland has outlawed lobster boiling. As reported this week in USA Today, a law that takes effect March 1 makes it illegal to plunge a live lobster into a pot of boiling water. Violators will be subject to up to three years in prison. The legislation was adopted as a result of research...
5 simple things you can do for the environment and your health
5 simple things you can do for the environment and your health

With climate change predictions coming from scientists on a regular basis, many people are increasingly concerned about their personal impact on the environment. At the same time, who isn't concerned about their health and well-being? While it's a no-brainer that severe pollution and ominous natural disasters can be detrimental to humanity, there...
More Stories