MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Saturday, December 2, said it will monitor the condition of learners who were part of the Philippine government's school-based dengue immunization, following news that the world's first-ever dengue vaccine is more risky for people without prior infection.
"As the health and safety of our learners are of principal importance, the Department of Education, in close coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), will monitor the condition of learners who have been administered with the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia," the DepEd said in a statement on Saturday.
The department said it will also be "actively participating" in DOH's review and consultations on the dengue vaccination program.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced the suspension of the program on Friday, December 1, or a day after French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur revealed that its Dengvaxia dengue vaccine could cause more severe cases of dengue if administered on a person who had not been previously infected by the virus.
Duque said that as of November 2017, 733,713 children ages 9 and above had received the first dose of the dengue vaccine in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.
The dengue vaccination program was launched in April 2016 by the Aquino administration's last health secretary, Janette Garin. The program met opposition from health experts who questioned its "rushed implementation."
It was also the subject of congressional hearings both in the Senate and the House of Representatives. (READ: TIMELINE: Dengue immunization program for public school students)
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.