The Dengue Vaccine Fiasco… Papaya Leaf Juice, Anyone?


Dr. Godofredo U. Stuart

The Dengvaxia vaccine is “the biggest government funded clinical-trial-masked-as-a-public-health-program scam of an experimental drug in the history of the DOH.”

It’s a damning charge made by Dr. Susan Pineda-Mercado, former DOH undersecretary and international public health expert. it is an indictment of our health care system—the politics, the lobbying, the sway of big pharma, the conflicts of interests, and possible complicity of many in fast-tracking and green-lighting the processes of exemption, procurement and purchase of the vaccine.

Rep. Estrelita Suansing supports the charge with comments that were no less forgiving: that approval and P3B budget allocation for the vaccine purchase seemed hasty and impulsive. . . that the fund source might not have undergone Congressional scrutiny . .that the purchase was not included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2015. Others in the medical community concurred the vaccine program had misplaced priorities, procedural lapses, and conflicts of interest.

Even after the approval was criticized as hasty and impulsive, there were signs early on that the vaccine was laden with problems. The public health community has been outraged for a year, said Dr.Mercado. Why did it take so long to take it down? Why did it have to wait for Sanofi’s confessional?

Read on…


  1. BOO CHANCO: My brother in law, a nationally known pediatrician who once headed Lungsod ng Kabataan, tipped me early about the danger of doing mass immunizations of the Sanofi vaccine. He was worried about the phenomenon of ADE (antibody dependent enhancement). We exchanged e-mails on the topic which I wrote about in this column.

    “I never recommended this vaccine when it was first introduced,” my brother in law wrote, “because of its low efficacy rate of less than 60 percent in the study that was conducted among Asian countries. What added to my concern was the phenomenon of the vaccine causing severe infection in persons without previous infection known as ADE or antibody dependent enhancement.

    “Response to the vaccine is quite complex and may result in more unintended complications. The dengue vaccine can cause most severe illness in children/adolescents without prior history of infection…”

    Dr. Antonio Dans, professor of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, explained it takes time to study ADE. Citing Sanofi’s own studies, Dans explained that ADE may be happening by the third year after vaccination. While the Sanofi and the DOH claimed ADE was only seen in children lower than nine years old, the data showed it could be happening in both younger and older children, and in adults as well.

    “The real dengue we are afraid of is severe dengue, not the mild ones,” said Dr Dans. “If a vaccine prevents mild disease but causes severe dengue, we shouldn’t be using it at all.”

    Dans pointed out that Sanofi and DOH are aware of the possibility there may be a rise in cases of severe dengue two years after the program is implemented. But they proceeded anyway with mass inoculation instead of doing more clinical trials first.

    This to me is sheer recklessness and lack of regard for consequences to human lives by the Aquino administration. This is more criminal than Mamasapano. The consent form DOH made parents sign did not even mention the ADE danger. Parents did not give informed consent.

    Maybe, the panic over the rise of dengue cases made the Aquino DOH take the risk. But the large amount of money involved, over P3 billion, can make people think there were other considerations. Clearly, the DOH disregarded good practice.

    Sanofi shouldn’t have agreed to sell the vaccine no matter how insistent DOH may have been. That sale is unethical on the part of Sanofi. A class action suit must be pursued against Sanofi if it does not voluntarily agree to refund DOH and also carry the financial burden of treating potential victims.

    That photo release showing P-Now watching then Health Secretary Garin inoculate the first child with dengvaxia clearly makes him responsible. P-Noy should have been given the first vaccine shot instead so he can now credibly claim good faith.

    “The problem with vaccines…”

  2. Batang Genyong ala Eh

    If the 700,000 innoculated citizens are exposed to iminent life & death situation, then Ex-Pres. Pinoy and Ex-DOH Secratary Garin should be held criminally responsible and must face arrest and incarceration for life. In addition, they have used state resources and funds without amelioration of health, economic social benefits to the citizzens they vow to serve without self-interests.
    . Down right, criminals.