This lengthy title of a post really reflects what is happening in the Philippines lately–it’s citizens are losing sleep over an issue which is based on the exhilarated claims of lawyers, cause-oriented groups and enterprising politicians.
Dengvaxia, the world’s first anti-dengue vaccine has been maligned, and shred into bits by Filipinos after Sanofi Pasteur released its quarterly update telling everyone that the vaccine had its limitations. That it is not a cure-all vaccine is already known by many in the epidemiological world, and truly, can anyone identify a vaccine that can cure a person 100% of the time?
As early as 2015, scientists and medical experts already know that Dengvaxia is a work in progress, which is not bad considering that every other vaccine out there is also a work in progress. Science is not exactly “exact” and human knowledge about the world, about diseases is still limited. A cure today for a disease might not be the cure for tomorrow since diseases, especially those caused by viruses tend to develop resilience to antibodies. Viruses are parasitic living beings and like other beings with life, viruses most of the time find a way to prevent itself from being annihilated by human creations like vaccines.
So, what’s really the fuzz when Sanofi exercised transparency and declared to the world that dengvaxia is effective only on those who had a history of dengue infections and could cause severe dengue to those injected with it but without history of dengue infections? Nineteen countries used dengvaxia as an anti-dengue vaccine, and it is only in the Philippines where people reacted with so much venom, the brand nearly died. The Brazilian government decided to continue using dengvaxia in its anti-dengue vaccination program. All other countries have received the news on dengvaxia with evident sobriety.
But in the Philippines? Nah, everybody thought that their kids died due to dengvaxia when medico-legal findings and death certificates say otherwise. Forget about the health secretary denying that there is an epidemic of severe dengue, forget that there is still no conclusive and sure link between the vaccine and those reported dengue deaths by kids. Lawyers like Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, ambulance chasers, activists like those feminist members of Gabriela and enterprising politicians have all rode the bandwagon, denouncing, demeaning, cursing and crucifying Sanofi even though no concrete scientific or medical findings reveal or established direct and unequivocal evidence of adverse effects of dengvaxia upon those who haven’t had dengue yet inoculated with the vaccine.
This kind of treatment is really nothing new in a country peopled by individuals who like watching melo-dramas, who shouts and laughs during shootouts and who manage to smile even though their homes are submerged in higher than a man’s height kind of a flood.
Poor Philippines! The people will never know the truth about Dengvaxia because the people nowadays are not just lazy but downright stupid.