By Jullie Y. Daza
THE thing about vaccines is that they are meant to protect the body from certain viruses or bacteria, yet the drug itself contains tiny amounts of a virus. Since the latter part of the last century, medical scientists are no longer keen about “routine vaccination of adults” due to the “slight risk of an adverse reaction” considered more dangerous than that “of catching the illness itself” (from The Reader’s Digest Question and Answer Book).
As one who abhors injections of any kind – a childhood trauma like any other – I was among many mothers who sympathized with parents who were anxious that DPT inoculations were a possible cause of autism in children. A friend spent years researching, going as far as London and Switzerland, to validate (or not) her suspicions that her daughter was a victim of DPT. Even when studies came out years later that there was “no connection” between autism and DPT vaccinations, not all the nervous mothers whom I knew or knew about were convinced.
Decades later, we are seeing the Dengvaxia vaccine against dengue generating fears of a “severe” form of the disease itself. Sure, its unintended negative effects are limited to children who never had dengue beforehand but were vaccinated. Sure, tell that to the marines, and the mothers of the 733,713 public schoolchildren who were vaccinated starting in April 2016. Even if there is no danger to “a big portion of them” as they “had dengue before the vaccination” – these kids are safe – the fact is that symptoms won’t show until 25 to 56 months later, or starting May next year.
Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy of DoH said in an interview on DZMM that “three deaths were reported after vaccination” but no mention was made of when, why.
Another 789,000 units at P1,000 per dose are about to expire, supplied by Sanofi Pasteur during then DoH secretary Janet Garin’s watch, with groups of doctors and pharmacologists, including Dr. Tony Leachon of the Philippine College of Physicians, warning against any inordinate haste in buying the vaccine. About 200,000 cases of dengue, with 600 deaths, have been reported.
Fears of an outbreak of anxiety and sleepless nights over Dengvaxia need not sweep the nation, that’s easy to say, but I wonder what would happen if this medical scandal had happened in China, where retribution is swift.