Monday, December 4, 2017

LOOK: The perils of the Dengvaxia vaccine explained

Ethel Pineda, a Filipina doctor from UP, recently published an elucidatory Facebook post explaining the risks associated to the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine distributed by the Department of Health under the initiatives of its former Secretary Janet Garin. Labelling her post as a “pragmatic approach to the clinical outcomes of the vaccine situation”, Dr. Pineda briefly explained the threats or perils associated with the Dengvaxia vaccine.

"The analysis confirmed that Dengvaxia provides persistent protective benefit against dengue fever in those who had prior infection. For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection,” the doctor wrote in her post citing a certain medical website.

“The dengue vaccine itself will not make the recipients sick. If they do not get the infection, nothing will happen to them.” Dr. Pineda asserted.

Further claiming that the vaccine does not basically cause death, Dr. Pineda asserted in her post the relatively low fatality rate among Dengue patients. To concretize this claim, the doctor cited certain demographics about the 1997 Cuban Dengue epidemic.

“Should one get the infection and a severe disease occurs, it does not mean certain death. A lot of patients with severe dengue illness survive….The fatality rate associated with severe dengue varies by country, from 12-44%. In a 1997 Cuban epidemic, the fatality rate in patients who met criteria for severe dengue was approximately 6%,” Dr. Pineda wrote in her post citing a certain article in Emedicine.com.

“Factors that affect disease severity include the following: Patient age, Pregnancy, Nutritional status, Ethnicity, Sequence of infection with different dengue serotypes, Virus genotype, Quality and extent of available medical care” Dr. Pineda added in her post.

Posing certain things that could significantly help reduce the risks for Dengue infection. Dr. Pined claimed:

“There are things that we can do to avoid infection. Avoidance of mosquito bites by wearing protective clothing, use of mosquito repellants, elimination of possible mosquito breeding areas. Clean your surroundings. Cover water storage receptacles. Mosquitoes harboring the dengue virus lay their eggs in CLEAN, stagnant water.”

Partly implying that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, the medical practitioner asked the public, especially those concerned to be vigilant with the symptoms associated to an infected individual.

“Recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease. Early recognition and medical attention shortens the illness period and the severity.” Dr. Pineda asserted.

Some of the common physical manifestations visible to an infected individual were as follows:

“Chills, fever, Headache, body ache, Pain behind the eyes, Facial flushing, Redness, mottling of the skin, Nausea, vomiting, Bleeding gums, pinpoint bleeding on the skin Red urine [Should symptoms persist,] bring your child to the doctor immediately.” 

Conclusively, Dr. Pineda addressed the problem back to the government particularly to those directly involved in this controversy. However, she affirmed that while this incident is truly enraging and disappointing, expressing one’s anger is of no use. 

Instead, in the face of health threats like this, Dr. Pineda asserted that the best thing to do is to be “proactive” and “vigilant”.

“The fear is understandable. More so the anger, especially when the government fails in its duty to protect the safety and well-being of its citizens….But fear and anger will not protect our children. We have to be proactive. There are things within our power and reach to change the outcome of this unfortunate event.” Dr. Pineda ended.

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