Dengue hitting a child isn't fun. In fact it can be a harrowing two weeks, not only because the platelets go down rapidly but you see your child’s body lose weight, his eyes grow deep, he is in pain and in constant malaise, and he is asked to stop brushing teeth for a while since his body bleeds at the slightest scratch.
It's the quick pace of the body's deterioration, and the fear that he may not recover from the viral ravage, that terrifies the parent. Having no cure, you can only pray that the virus runs its course and leaves the body before permanent damage or death, comes. It is easy to feel helpless and hopeless.
That’s something my wife and i went through, and a fate i do not wish for other parents.
It does not help when in the last year you also visited someone whose own child succumbed to the disease and the paranoia against what were once harmless, non lethal mosquito bites has heightened.
Thus the Dengvaxia vaccine offered much hope for those not wanting to go through the same hell again.
But hearing the manufacturer's own admissions and warnings about the vaccine is unnerving to say the least, and knowing how the past government bought it, and pushed 700,000 children to take it against expert advice in what looks like a rush contravenes the sense of better judgment we pay them to exercise.
Understandably, the past government’s partisans accuse others of politicizing their supposed mistakes.
But only a full investigation will really determine if the alleged irregularities in the procurement of the vaccine, and the poor judgment they are believed to have engaged to inject it into our kids can be known and evaluated.
But beyond whether those past officials will be punished for alleged wrongdoing, let’s all try to focus first on helping the families of those who were vaccinated.
Surely many are worried about whether their children will survive a second infection, and others may worry about whether they can take the costs—emotional and financial—of another dengue episode.
The first solution should come from the manufacturer Sanofi. Can they come out with definitive information for those who took in the vaccine? Any specific precautions needed? Early warning signs to note?
Early detection and response is needed for successful recovery from a dengue infection. Parents of infected children in particular should be more cautious and be aggressive in determining dengue’s presence since it is easy to mistake it for a flu until it’s too late.
Moreover, perhaps Sanofi can extend financial assistance to those who may be infected a second time. A little hospitalization support can help.
At this point, Sanofi and the government must work together to assure the 700,000 that they are there to assist, comfort and heal. Government’s investigation over the errors of past officials are another matter that should be pursued. But supporting the families must come first.
For parents like me who saw a child through dengue, this presence to support and the will to obtain justice is a big comfort.