Here we are again

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“There is nothing in the Gordon report that can be extrapolated to prove Dengvaxia is not effective. And there is nothing also that can be extrapolated from the US study that proves anything not yet known.”

Headline reads: “US STUDY CONFIRMS RISK OF DENGVAXIA”
“The authors calculated that if Sanofi’s dengue vaccine were given to 1 million children over age 9, it could lead to 1,000 hospitalizations and 500 severe cases in vaccines who have not been previously infected,” headline’s kicker goes.

Reading the headline and its kicker per se, one can readily conclude inoculation of the vaccine jointly made controversial here by Sen. Richard Gordon and Public Attorney’s Office head Persida Acosta is, indeed, hazardous to those vaccinated with it. And its causal result? Panic.

Let us try to dissect the news story of a study made in the US, findings of which were released Wednesday last week.

According to the US study that the kicker summed up, Dengvaxia would not work wonders for children aged 0-9 and should not be used for that age bracket as well as those aged 9-16 who have not had dengue in the past.

Senator Gordon, the Senate’s blue ribbon committee chair, and that august body’s committee on health, jointly conducted an inquiry in aid of legislation into the dengvaxia controversy. After a series of hearings, Gordon, who talked nonstop during those hearings and depriving the other senators of the chance to talk, then came up with a finding that he singlehandedly penned.

The other members of the blue ribbon and health committees even protested the release of Gordon’s findings that found nothing derogatory against the dengue vaccine itself, but found a lot of administrative and procedural violations with regard to its purchase by the previous administration.

Gordon seized Wednesday’s release of the US study, claiming it sustained his own findings. But did the US study really support the Senate blue ribbon committee’s findings? Remember, Gordon’s findings never had anything about dengvaxia’s efficacy as an anti-dengue vaccine.

The Gordon report instead focused on the numerous findings of alleged irregularities committed by those officials who had a hand in the purchase of dengvaxia and its subsequent use in a massive vaccination program initiated by the Department of Health and the Department of Education.

There is nothing in the Gordon report that can be extrapolated to prove Dengvaxia is not effective. And there is nothing also that can be extrapolated from the US study that proves anything not yet known. In other words, the US study did not proffer new findings that can lead to a sound conclusion about the vaccine other than those already on the table.

During the surveillance stage for serious adverse effects of dengvaxia’s clinical trial in identified countries all over the world, Sanofi Pasteur, the anti-dengue vaccine manufacturer based in France issued an advisory that the vaccine they discovered should not be used outright for children ages 0-9 and for children ages 9-16 who had not had any bout with dengue in the past.

These are Sanofi Pasteur’s findings that the US study merely affirmed. Additionally, the calculation that if the vaccine were given to 1 million children over age 9, it could have led to 1,000 hospitalizations and 500 severe cases.

Local experts, together with Sanofi scientists, then calculated of the 830,000, fewer than a thousand vaccinees might end up in the hospital and about 156 of the fewer than a thousand would need special attention by the authorities to prevent untoward incidents should they get afflicted with diseases other than dengue.

But to Acosta and her self-proclaimed expert in the field of forensic medicine, the 56 deaths of children vaccinated with dengvaxia ipso facto died because of dengvaxia. Sadly, however, the experts tapped by the health department to look into these deaths could not come up with a conclusive finding that their deaths were caused by dengvaxia.
Is there any basis to panic then? You be the judge. (jelbacon@yahoo.com; jelbaconii@gmail.com)