US expert says due diligence should have been exercised before Dengvaxia was administered on massive scale

“I was astonished, quite upset” the mass immunization program was going forward, Dr. Halstead says

Dr. Scott Halstead speaking before the Senate blue ribbon and health committees’ hearing on the Dengvaxia mess on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Meanne Corvera/Eagle News/

By Meanne Corvera
Eagle News Service

A US scientist who has been studying dengue since the 1970s said on Tuesday that there should have been a blood test first before Dengvaxia was administered on a massive scale.

Speaking before the Senate blue ribbon and health committees hearing on the Dengvaxia mess, Dr. Scott Halstead said that while the Department of Health then based its program on a model involving the vaccination of 80 percent of nine-year-olds with the intent of seeing the incidence of dengue go down, “the problem is that’s a model, that’s not real life.”

He agreed with Senator Richard Gordon, blue ribbon committee chair,  that   due diligence should have been made first before the program was made to push through.

Gordon said  phase 3 of the Dengvaxia clinical trial was not yet completed when the vaccine  was administered on a massive scale in the Philippines.

Malaysia and Singapore, he said, were more circumspect in buying the vaccine.

“I was quite astonished, quite upset that this mass immunization (in the Philippines) was going forward,” Halstead said.

The Dengvaxia vaccine was procured during the time of then-Health Secretary Janette Garin.

Garin has stood by the government’s move a that time, and has blamed Sanofi Pasteur, the drug manufacturer, for its alleged nondisclosure of relevant information about Dengvaxia to the government.