May Everyone Have a Worry-Free Christmas!
I SYMPATHIZE with parents who have sleepless nights due to the alarming headline in tri-media on the serious effect of Dengvaxia vaccination. This vaccine was administered to 830,000 public school children in Metro Manila, Region 3 and Region 4-A in March 2016 pursuant to the Department of Health (DOH) school-based anti dengue immunization program. The vaccination was later extended to Central Visayas particularly in Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City. Dengvaxia was supposed to protect everyone from contacting dengue fever.
In November 2017, the French Pharmaceutical Company and manufacturer of Dengvaxia, Sanofi Pasteur, announced that “Dengvaxia is not recommended for people who have no prior dengue infection, otherwise, they may develop more severe forms of dengue after the cycle of vaccine shots runs its course.” The announcement made parents more intensely worried. Those who were not yet infected with dengue prior to Dengvaxia vaccination are more prone to severe dengue in the future.
A google search shows that dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by dengue virus. Symptoms typically begin 3 to 14 days after infection. This may include high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. Recovery generally takes 2 to 7 days. In a small proportion of cases, the disease develops into the life-threatening hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs. Dengue is spread by several species of mosquito of the Aedes type, principally A. aegypti.
It is good to hear that DOH Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque took upon himself to create a Task Force which will look into this matter to minimize the worries of parents whose children were vaccinated with Dengvaxia. The Task Force will create a Master List of all affected school children (also government employees). It will also monitor and make a surveillance of cases involving the vaccination of Dengvaxia.
We suggest that the Task Force must also include the following in their “to do list”: (1) Those affected persons must be given I.D. which they will present to the doctor or hospital where they would be checked up or confined. (2) The Office of the President or the DOH must issue Executive Order or Administrative Order requiring all medical practitioners and/or hospitals to immediately attend to affected persons who sought their professional advice for any illness/sickness and also immediately report such cases to the DOH, which will tally the report with their master list and make a medical case folder for each patient. (3) It must have a medical team which will conduct research on how to counter the effect of Dengvaxia vaccine on affected persons and find out if there is an antidote to Dengvaxia.(4) It must also investigate on the cases of 5 children in Central Luzon who died allegedly “after receiving their first dose of Dengvaxia.
Secretary Duque said that the Task Force is composed of top management officials of the DOH Central Office and affected regions, Food and Drug Administration, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the National Children’s Hospital. It will also have a legal team that will look into the accountability of Sanofi Pasteur; that the latter must refund the Philippine Government the P3.5 billion cost of Dengvaxia as well as indemnification fund to cover the hospitalization and medical treatment of affected children who might have severe dengue.
We suggest that the Legal Team should also look into the possible accountability of DOH officials who approved the purchase of Dengvaxia without inquiring into its proper use, to whom should it be administered, what are its effect, were the guidelines and policies of DOH followed.
Congratulations to the parishioners of Daanghari, Navotas City. Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio David, Bishop of Kalookan and the CBCP Vice President, declared Santo Niňo de Pasion Chapel as a Quasi Parish under the Vicariate of San Jose de Navotas, Diocese of Kalookan effective December 10, 2017. Bishop David appointed Rev. Fr. James Anthony Del Rosario as the Priest Administrator of the Quasi Parish.
Before its declaration as Quasi Parish, Santo Niňo de Pasion was one of the Chapels in San Jose de Navotas Parish under the stewardship of Fr. Rufino Yabut. An agreement was executed between Doňa Salud Roque and Family, owners of the Chapel, and the Diocese of Kalookan, allowing the Diocese to make the Chapel a Quasi Parish.
We wish and greet everyone a very Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful and Healthy New Year! Let us make Jesus Christ the center of our life. Let us not delete Jesus Christ in greeting everyone a Merry Christmas. He is the Reason for the Season, despite the much needed rehabilitation of Marawi, the worries of parents whose children were injected with Dengvaxia vaccine, the family of the victims of “bonnet gangs” and “riding in tandem”. God bless us all!