CEBU -- A 10-year-old boy who was vaccinated with Dengvaxia in Talisay City last August is now confined in the intensive care unit of a private hospital in the City of Naga after suffering dengue fever.
Junjen Ababon, 10, was brought to the Talisay City District Hospital Wednesday at 3 a.m., December 6, after he suffered a nosebleed after a week of continuous fever.
The Ababons are residents of Barangay Lawaan 3, Talisay City.
His parents moved him to a private facility after they learned that the dengue vaccine could cause severe dengue to those who had not contracted the virus previously.
Following Jujen’s confinement, his neighbors in Sitio Kaduldulan, Barangay Lawaan 3 now worry for their children who received the free dengue vaccine.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, Department of Health (DOH) 7 director, said they will verify Jujen’s condition to determine if the dengue fever he contracted was caused by Dengvaxia.
Junrey, Jujen’s father, told SunStar Cebu that their son contracted fever on Monday last week. They thought Junjen was getting better until he suddenly contracted high-grade fever during the weekend. The fever lasted until Tuesday night, Junrey said.
Junrey and his wife Jinny started to get anxious when Jujen had a nosebleed past midnight.
Junrey admitted that he and his wife started to worry after hearing reports that the dengue vaccine being distributed in some parts of the country can cause severe dengue to those who have yet to contract the virus.
“Nabalaka gyud mi kay gatoo lage mi nga makatabang ang bakuna sa among anak para dili na siya ma-dengue. Mas nigrabe naman noon (We thought the vaccine would help, but instead it made the matter worse),” Junrey said.
Harby Abellanosa, TCDH chief nurse, confirmed that Jujen has dengue after they found that his platelet count was low during a complete blood count examination.
Abellanosa told reporters that they referred Jujen to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City since they don’t have an ICU at the TCDH.
But his parents opted to bring their son to the South General Hospital in the City of Naga instead.
Hours after her son was admitted, Jinny told SunStar Cebu that his condition has stabilized even though his platelet count is still very low.
Following the incident, the Ababons’ neighbors in Sitio Kaduldulan have started to worry.
Felsy Aleo said she now worries for her 15-year-old daughter who also received the dengue vaccine.
Aleo said she and her husband decided to let her have the vaccine after one of their neighbors died of dengue fever last July.
“Sukad atong namatay ang among silingan, wala na mi nikompyansa (Ever since our neighbor died, we have not been complacent). Gipabakuna gyud namo among mga anak para dili sad sila matapdan. Mura na noon mig nagmahay sa among desisyon (That was why we immediately had our daughter vaccinated when he learned about the free vaccine),” Aleo added.
Following the incident, the Talisay City Government immediately activated its Anti-Dengue Task Force to conduct surveillance in Sitio Kaduldulan.
City Councilor Richard Francis Aznar, who chairs the committee on health and sanitation, said he is coordinating with the City Health Office to monitor Jujen’s health.
The City also plans to provide medical assistance for the Ababons, Aznar added.
Bernadas said the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit 7 is also coordinating with South General Hospital.
Bernadas said that while the effects of the first dose of Dengvaxia have yet to be determined, they will still monitor Jujen’s condition.
“Part of the verification process is to determine the nature of the reported vaccination,” Bernadas added.
Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma supports plans to investigate DOH officials who were behind the introduction of Dengvaxia in the country.
Palma admitted that he was apprehensive when he heard that the national government was introducing a dengue vaccine.
Palma said he worries about the more than 150,000 children in Cebu who were given the vaccine.
“I support an investigation. They should not just inject anything, even with good condition. It should be tested, and tested all over again before it could be used on human beings,” Palma added.