An independent panel of experts will convene to examine the latest data on clinical trials and surveillance pertaining to the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, the Department of Health announced.

“The DOH continues to refine our response and action plan in the Dengue Task Force to ensure the safety and best health outcomes for children who were vaccinated through heightened monitoring and surveillance, effective management of adverse events following immunization, activation of the dengue fast lanes in public hospitals, and truthful and timely risk communication to the public,” Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III said in a statement.  

The panel will review data coming from the 5-year observation period of clinical trials conducted by Sanofi Pasteur, post-marketing surveillance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and data from the adverse events following immunization (AEFI) by the DOH Epidemiological Bureau.

An estimated 830,000 Filipino children were given the vaccination particularly from Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Cebu under the department's vaccination programme. These were areas where dengue prevalence was high.

Meanwhile, Secretary Duque said his agency was ready to forward all documents requested by the National Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting a parallel probe on the vaccination controversy.

"We leave it to the appropriate courts to conduct their own independent investigation, and to determine whether all the legal requirements were satisfactorily met in the purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine," the Health chief was quoted by Rappler.

Earlier, the DOH announced it has partnered with the University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) to validate all deaths allegedly related to the dengue vaccine.

UP-PGH experts will provide an independent review and assessment of the probable cause of deaths. These university experts include paediatric infectious disease specialists, pathologists and other specialists with no financial or intellectual ties to pharmaceutical giant Sanofi pasteur, manufacturer of Dengvaxia.

The Health department likewise announced that an independent expert panel will review the new evidence on Dengvaxia to come up with specific technical guidelines. MIMS

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