Philippines wants money back from Sanofi for dengue vaccine

Dengue vaccine risk raised

Sanofi's dengue vaccine Dengvaxia

But he said the case of a 12-year old girl in Tarlac province, north of the capital Manila, who completed the three-dose vaccine treatment and showed symptoms of severe dengue, seemed to have defied that.

"We will demand the refund of the 3.5 billion pesos (69 million USA dollars) paid for the Dengvaxia, and that Sanofi set up an indemnification fund to cover the hospitalization and medical treatment for all children who might have severe dengue", Duque said in a statement.

For now, Duque said the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation is prepared to cover up to P16,000 in expenses should any child be admitted to the hospital due to dengue.

Nearly 734,000 children aged 9 and over in the Philippines have received one dose of the vaccine as part of a program that cost 3.5 billion pesos ($69.54 million).

As this disclosure was made only after the health department had already vaccinated thousands of school children, the news created a scare among parents and the public. In the meantime, WHO supports the Philippines Department of Health's (DOH) decision to suspend the ongoing vaccination programme until more information is available.

Fortunately, he said, the child recovered from her illness after she was transferred to JB Lingad Hospital, a hospital managed by the DOH.

Duque said congressional hearings into the issue would start next week.

Another possible dengue case was being investigated, he said.

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Speaking at his press conference this week, he said: 'Of course he's a fantastic player. But then I don't know because I don't have a close relationship with him or his people.

Duque on Thursday said the government intends to sue Sanofi after authorities suspended the company's Dengvaxia vaccine.

MANUFACTURERS of Dengvaxia said that the chances of their vaccine causing severe dengue fever are rare.

He quoted Ubial as saying that children in public schools in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog had been vaccinated with two doses of Dengvaxia and that the vaccine was "relatively safe".

Duque said the Philippines will wait for a recommendation to be released next week by a group of immunization experts who provide advice to the World Health Organization.

"It was also Ubial who signed the certificate of exemption that allowed Dengvaxia to be used for pilot implementation of the immunization program", Roque said. "This is part of the agency's commitment to closely monitor and attend to the health of those immunized with the vaccine", Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a Palace briefing.

The Commission on Appointments rejected Ubial's nomination.

Although the vaccine was registered in Thailand on Sept 30 a year ago after winning approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it has yet to be included in the country's standard immunisation list.

Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, committee chair, said health and Sanofi officials gave her panel and the public no warning at all on the potential risks of Dengvaxia to children who had not been afflicted with dengue prior to vaccination. She said she was ready to face a Senate investigation next week.

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