THE Cebu Provincial Health Office (CPHO) was not delegated by the Department of Health (DOH) to monitor the status of children who were given the dengue vaccine, an official said yesterday.
Following the announcement of Sanofi S.A. of the possible effects that the Dengvaxia can have on those who have yet to contract the dengue fever virus, CPHO Head Dr. Rene Catan said that he instructed all city and municipal health units to come up with an updated list of children who have received the vaccine.
Catan also urged parents of vaccinated children to approach their nearest city or municipal health offices and have themselves monitored.
Catan told SunStar Cebu that when the DOH started the distribution of the vaccines to towns and component cities under Cebu Province, they didn’t include CPHO, the district and provincial hospitals in the monitoring process.
Catan said that his office was only tasked to identify the children but there was no instruction to monitor their health after they were vaccinated.
Catan said that only the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) was designated to monitor the status of the vaccinated children. The VSMMC, a tertiary-level hospital, is under the jurisdiction of the DOH.
“Perhaps they didn’t delegate it because we opposed the immediate distribution of the vaccines,” said Catan.
Earlier this year, Dr. Catan expressed his opposition to the DOH’s plan to distribute the dengue vaccine in Cebu Province as the manufacturer had yet to fully explain the vaccine’s efficacy.
Let’s be prudent
“Strong ang statement sa PHO nga kailangan prudent ta sa pag-gamit sa vaccine,” said Catan.
But the DOH proceeded with its plan to distribute the vaccines last June.
The DOH would have proceeded with the second batch of vaccinations next year until Sanofi S.A. announced last month that the vaccine may cause severe dengue fever among children who were not infected by the virus before.
In a statement, Sanofi S.A. said it found that based on a six-year clinical data, analysis confirmed that Dengvaxia provides persistent protective benefits against dengue fever but only for those who had a prior infection.
Sanofi S.A. found that for those who were not previously infected by the dengue virus, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination.
Because of the recent findings, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque announced last week that DOH was suspending the distribution of dengue vaccines until Sanofi S.A. and the World Health Organization (WHO) issue a final update on the matter.
But with PHO having no data as to who received the vaccines, Catan has instructed city and municipal health officers in Cebu Province to list down those who were already vaccinated.
He also instructed city and municipal health officers to not only list those that were already vaccinated but also to determine if they have been affected by dengue or not.
The updated list helps to determine how many children could be severely affected by dengue after being vaccinated.
Catan also urged parents not to panic. He advised parents to have their children listed so that if they will be affected in the future, the PHO can provide hospitals, whether private or public, the information needed on their overall health following vaccination. (JKV)