I have thought long and hard about covering the Dengvaxia controversy in the Philippines. It is not history, although it is historic. The issue, to my mind is what scientific evidence is there to support the claims that Dengvaxia has killed Filipino children? Are the claims supportable? Does what little evidence available support the claim? What damage is the controversy doing to other vaccination programmes?
What is at stake is the lives of children. If the Philippine government’s Public attorney’s office, PAO, is correct, then there is a serious issue to be addressed, if it is wrong it is putting at risk the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of Filipino children and hazarding the lives of kids in the other 18 countries where Dengvaxia is being used.
I have spoken to clinicians, epidemiologists and public policy experts throughout the SE Asian region. I have asked PAO for its input and should it respond then its comment and clarifications will be included.
My concern is not in pushing any political agenda, but in determining the facts as far as they can be ascertained, in an effort to inform and allow parents and healthcare workers to make informed decisions.
The issue has become so viciously politicised that, in some cases, interviewees have been reluctant to comment publicly or to have their views attributed to them.
We have a lot of ground to cover. Stay with us.
Next: What is Dengue, how dangerous is it?