THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 denied reports that a 10-year-old boy from Talisay City caught dengue fever after being vaccinated with Dengvaxia last August.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH 7 director, told SunStar Cebu that based on their initial investigation, Jujen Ababon had dengue fever after he got bitten by an Aedes Aegypti mosquito, not from Dengvaxia.
But despite the development, an official of Barangay Lawaan 3 said that she is upset and anxious that the first dengue case related to Dengvaxia came from her village.
In an interview yesterday, Bernadas said that since Ababon had not completed all three doses of Dengvaxia, his resistance to all four strains of dengue is not strengthened yet.
“Ang effect ng vaccine will be only be maximized after the third dose,” Bernadas said.
He said that as of yesterday, Ababon’s condition had stabilized.
Jinny Ababon, the boy’s mother, told SunStar Cebu yesterday that her son was already transferred from the intensive care unit (ICU) to the pediatric ward of the South General Hospital.
But Ababon’s platelet count is still very low, she said.
However, Ababon was very energetic despite his condition, she said.
But while Ababon’s condition is slowly improving, his neighbors in Barangay Lawaan 3 are still afraid that their children might get severe dengue because of the vaccine.
In an interview, Barangay Lawaan 3 Chief Dehlia Ybañez said she is feeling the restlessness of her constituents following what happened to Ababon.
Ybañez said that before the DOH started administering the vaccine last August, she started asking questions from health officials on how safe it was for children.
She asked her constituents to approach the nearest village health center if their children who were vaccinated would have dengue.
Bernadas urged Ybañez and her constituents to not worry and to continue with their anti-dengue programs in the community, including the 4S (search and destroy; use if self-protection measures; seeking early consultation for fever lasting more than two days; and saying no to indiscriminate fogging).
At the Capitol, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) will meet with municipal health officers (MHOs) today to discuss the issue.
Dr. Rene Catan, provincial health officer, said that he will also meet with city health officers (CHOs) on Monday.
The CHOs from the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay have informed him that they are attending the meeting.
Catan said the PHO is now strengthening surveillance to track down all 159,355 children above nine years old who were vaccinated last August.
In a press conference, Catan said they don’t have an integrated reporting system at the moment, and they don’t know who received the vaccine.
Catan said they have the number (159,355) quoted by the Department of Health (DOH) but they don’t have the names.
“Our first task is to have a master list of the names and addresses of the vaccinated children and their health history to have a more comprehensive and cohesive approach to the vaccine problem,” Catan said.
Catan urged the parents to bring their children to the rural health unit (RHUs) where they got the vaccine and list their names there.
“We will share the list with all hospitals, not only government but also private. The list will be placed on a database so we can track the children at the time they are admitted to the hospitals in relation to dengue and also other diseases,” Catan said.
He said they don’t know any complication out of the vaccination at the moment.
“We have to track these children whether they are admitted for dengue, stomach pains, among others. So surveillance is now important,” Catan said.
Catan said that they have not yet heard any word from DOH, but they at Cebu Province are taking steps to strengthen surveillance so if the DOH needs data, they can give it to them immediately.
“At the moment, that vaccination has created some amount of panic and uncertainty and the only way we can to help allay people’s fears is to show to them that we are on top of the situation by way of monitoring the vaccinated children,” Catan said. (JKV, EOB)