A TOP official of the Cebu City Health Department (CHD) believes it is now the right time to roll out vaccines against the dengue virus.
Dr. Ilya Tac-an, CHD’s head of the Epidemiology, Surveillance, Research and Infection Control Division, said in a news forum Tuesday, July 26, 2022, that there are a lot of vaccine studies being conducted and one is being done here in Cebu City.
Tac-an said if the government can issue an emergency use authority for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines, it would be better if it can also issue the same for anti-dengue vaccines.
The doctor made it clear, however, that the development of the vaccine should not be rushed and the appropriate process should still be followed.
In 2016, the Philippines rolled out the first vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease but this was halted in 2017 when the company that developed the vaccine announced that the vaccine could lead to vulnerable and severe infection in those who had not been exposed to the virus.
The incident resulted in a national scandal and allegations that there were children who died after receiving the vaccine.
Tac-an was asked if the issue had been politicized and the doctor instantly replied in the affirmative.
In an interview with a national television network on July 15, Department of Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said they are now gathering and studying evidence before convening the experts about the vaccine.
As of July 22, Cebu City had recorded 1,812 reported dengue cases for this year.
According to Tac-an, the CHD is conducting community monitoring and surveillance for suspected dengue cases.
Tac-an urged residents to continue their clean-up drives and sustain community programs that can help in mitigating the spread of the virus.
In recent interviews, CHD head Dr. Jeffrey Ibones said the rise in dengue cases can be attributed to the incessant rains brought by different weather phenomena.
The CHD has advised to search and destroy possible breeding grounds of the mosquitoes such as flower vases, air conditioning units, unused tires, and water containers.