More than 800,000 schoolchildren who received a dose of the dengue vaccine will be given health monitoring cards and ballers, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said to enable the Department of Health to keep close tabs on beneficiaries of government's mass dengue vaccination drive.
 
Statistics from the DOH showed 833,000 children received the dengue vaccine, regardless of whether they received one, two or three doses.
 
"We're going to distribute this to each one of them so we can monitor each one of them together with their parents and their teachers to help us observe for any adverse events with regard to the conditions of the children post-Dengvaxia vaccination," Secretary Duque said during the second Senate hearing on the issue of the dengue vaccine last December 14.
 
In addition, there will be a heightened surveillance scheme (five years), monitoring for adverse effects, and distribution of non-color coded ballers. Further, general hotlines and specific regional hotlines have been estabished for better monitoring system.

But Dr Mary Ann Lansang, a medical expert from the University of the Philippines, said that the five year surveillance might not be enough to observe the full effects of the first dengue vaccine.
 
She related an event in Cuba as an example: "If you look at the experience of Cuba, they have a 1977 epidemic. The antibody-dependent enhancement phenomenon was seen four years after (1981) and 20 years after (1997)."
 
Dr Lansang then suggested that DOH extend their surveillance plan. 
 
Dr Gundo Weiler, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to the Philippines, said the WHO's new official position paper to address the dengue vaccine controversy will be out soon.
 
The WHO official said there are two groups looking at the matter - one is the global advisory committee on vaccine safety while the second group is composed of experts on immunization. The groups will look into the circumstances: those that were vaccinated, those that were not and those who received less than the recommended three doses. 
 
"[WHO] will support the DOH in making the best decision on how to take this forward," he said. MIMS