President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he was open to reintroducing the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia after the Department of Health (DOH) declared a national dengue epidemic.

“I am open to the use of Dengvaxia again. Maraming patay ‘yan (So many people have died), it’s an epidemic,” Duterte said at the sidelines of an oath-taking ceremony for newly promoted police officers at Malacañang.

The chief executive said he would ask for recommendations from Filipino scientists and doctors on the use of Dengvaxia.

“I want to hear the words of the experts, doctors. And we have enough bright people here to tell us,” Duterte said.

“My own Filipino scientists and doctors would tell me what to do. I will be guided by their announcements,” he added.

The DOH on Tuesday declared a national dengue epidemic, three weeks after it raised a national dengue alert due to the rising cases of the mosquito-borne viral disease in parts of the country.

As of July 20 this year, the DOH has recorded 146,062 dengue cases, with 622 deaths.

The Food and Drug Administration revoked the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia in February after its French manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, admitted that the vaccine might cause severe symptoms to people who receive it with no previous dengue infection.

Sanofi has appealed the revocation. (