'Vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur announced Wednesday that a dengue vaccine already distributed to hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren could instead cause more severe cases of the disease in people who were not already infected.
“For those not previously infected by dengue virus… analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection,” Sanofi stated in a press release after reviewing results of a six-year clinical study.
The vaccine giant’s announcement is a major shock as the company’s Dengvaxia shot has been approved for release in 11 countries, including the Philippines where roughly 700,000 children have already received the vaccine as part of a mass vaccination effort started in 2016.
“It means some of them will develop severe dengue; we don’t know who. All of them will have to live with this possibility for the rest of their lives,” former Philippine College of Physicians Foundation president Dr. Anthony Leachon said.
Leachon says children were not tested for infections and that his foundation had previously “advised Congress and Senate that mass vaccination is not advisable without a rigid selection process.”
Health advocates on Wednesday attacked the Philippine government for approving distribution of the vaccine, with one former health undersecretary calling it the “biggest government funded clinical-trial-masked-as-a-public-health-program scam of an experimental drug in the history of the DOH [Department of Health].”'
Read more: Vaccine Maker Warns Dengue Vaccine Can Cause Severe Dengue
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