CITY OF MALOLOS – The Provincial Government of Bulacan together with the Department of Health took the first step in easing the tension of the public regarding the controversial Dengvaxia or anti-dengue vaccine by conducting a forum on Enhanced Dengvaxia-related Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) Surveillance and Response yesterday at The Pavilion, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.
Highlighting the importance of a clean environment, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado encouraged the participants of the forum to sustain a clean and healthy community to prevent occurrence of diseases such as dengue and malaria.
“Lahat po naman ng layunin natin dito ay para sa kabutihan ng mga mamamayan, nag-bakuna, upang hadlangan at sugpuin ang sakit na dengue na makaapekto sa mga batang may eda 9 na taon hanggang 45 taong gulang. Life is very important. Sa atin walang kaso pero hihintayin pa ba nating magkakaso? Kaya napakahalaga nitong ginagawa nating ugnayan sa DOH. At mahalagang huwag nating kalimutan na bagaman may mga gamot, pagtuunan natin ng pansin ang paglilinis ng kapaligiran dahil malaking tulong,” Alvarado said.
Further, Dr. Cindy Canlas, DOH-RO3 Cluster Head of Infectious Diseases and resource speaker on the Rationale and Objectives of Enhanced Dengvaxia Surveillance, explained that the said vaccine aims to protect children from dengue disease but when the manufacturer later on released a study saying that the vaccine may have put lives at risk, the government is exerting all its efforts to save these vaccinated children to include more than others acquisition of the complete list of vaccinated individuals followed by intensive monitoring until 2021.
Based on the reports, there were 205,058 individuals who were vaccinated in Region 3 and out of the total number, 52,579 are Bulakenyos.
She added that if symptoms of dengue occurred to vaccinated persons, there are 281 Rural Health Units, 1,983 Barangay Health Centers and 66 government hospitals in Region 3 that are equipped in providing an NS1 or Rapid Diagnostic Test for dengue.
Although it can be treated, Dr. Canlas still encouraged the public to practice the 4’S which stands for Search and Destroy mosquito breeding sites; Seek early consultation; Self-protection; and Say yes to fogging in times of impending outbreak.
During the open forum, Edwin Flores, a teacher whose child received the complete three doses of Dengvaxia, asked how severe his child can get when infected with dengue and to what extent will be the government’s assistance.
Dr. Canlas said a person can have dengue four times in his life because of the four sero types of dengue and once the same child is infected, the second time is always the severe one. The vaccination is considered one dengue that is why a person who did not have prior dengue infection and was vaccinated with Dengvaxia now faces the possibility of acquiring a more severe level of dengue.
The resource speaker also clarified that in all government hospitals; the dengue treatment to those who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia is free and will be shouldered by PhilHealth, while those who were admitted in private hospitals will get assistance from the government as the DOH enters in a Memorandum of Agreement with them come February 6, 2018.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jocelyn Gomez reiterated that in all government hospitals in Bulacan, dengue treatment has always been free since 2010.
If an individual ages 9-45 years old, was vaccinated with Dengvaxia and was admitted to a hospital regardless of the type of acquired disease, please inform the Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (PESU) through the Bulacan Dengvaxia Hotline 0998-324-2261 and DOH RO3-RESU 0921-368-8541