MANILA - The Philippines will purchase P7.43 billion worth of vaccines for next year, the Department of Health said Tuesday as it looked into the risks posed by a dengue vaccine.
The new set of vaccines are for flu, Japanese Encephalitis, tetanus and measles, which will be administered to millions of schoolchildren, infants, pregnant women and senior citizens, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
"Napatunayan naman na walang problema sa mga bakunang ito at makakabigay naman ito na kaukulang proteksyon," Duque told DZMM.
"Ginagamit na po natin iyan noon pa at kailangang ituloy para siguradong ang mga bagong silang na sanggol ay protektado rin katulad ng mga naunang nabigyan."
(It has been proven that there are no problems with these vaccines and these will give protection. We have been using these for a long time. We need to continue its distribution to ensure that newborns have the same protection as those who have received the vaccines.)
The Food and Drug Administration late Monday ordered Sanofi Pasteur to suspend the sale of its dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, after the French drug-maker admitted that it could cause a more severe case of the disease in some instances.
Dengvaxia could cause "more cases of severe disease" if administered to those who have not had the mosquito-borne illness before, Sanofi said last week, prompting the government to suspend its public immunization program.
In the meantime, the DOH will seek Sanofi's help to draw up a list of those vaccinated with Dengvaxia so their health could be monitored for the next 5 years, Duque said.
Authorities said Dengvaxia, the first of its kind in the world, was administered to some 733,000 people in the Philippines.
Sanofi had said that Dengvaxia would not cause anyone who was immunized to die and that potential cases of "severe dengue" would not be fatal.