After learning about the bigger risk of contracting a more serious strain of dengue fever for people who received a vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Sanofi previous year, the Philippines Department of Health has chose to suspend the in-school program that saw the vaccination of more than 740,000 school age children.
Although it is not as serious as malaria, it is spreading rapidly in many parts of the world, killing about 20,000 people a year and infecting hundreds of millions.
"As far as we are made aware, there are no reported deaths that are related to dengue vaccination", said Dr.
Dr Duque tried to allay concerns over the vaccine's use, saying that for those who received it, there has been a 93 per cent reduction in severity of symptoms, and an 82 per cent reduction in hospitalisation.
Philippine health officials began vaccinating over a million children in April a year ago with Dengvaxia, the world's first dengue vaccine, amid safety concerns expressed by public health advocates.
The immunisation program is in line with the recommendation of the World Health Organization for mass vaccination in highly endemic countries, health officials said on Friday.
"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 company said in a statement.
She said Dengvaxia potentially prevents 15 dengue hospitalizations or 4 clinically severe dengue episodes per 1,000 vaccinees.
Hundreds of thousands of children in the Philippines have been given a dengue vaccine which may worsen the outbreak, officials warned, as they halted the program late last week. In severe cases, dengue can cause breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure.
Those who had been vaccinated "are being followed up for adverse effects", he said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said 733,713 children from Central Luzon, the region of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, and Metro Manila were administered Dengvaxia. Those at risk are some 70,000 children who were vaccinated.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into possible criminal liability in the controversial P3.5-billion dengue vaccine project of the Department of Health.