DOH studying dengue vaccines amid rise in cases

AP File
AP File

THE Department of Health (DOH) is studying dengue vaccines in a bid to curb the increasing cases of the disease in the country, DOH officer-in-charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Friday, July 15, 2022.

In a television interview, Vergeire said there were at least 23 dengue vaccines included in the emergency medicine list of the World Health Organization.

"What we’re doing here in the department would be gathering evidence, studying it, and once we have completed, that we’ll be convening our experts," she said.

"So we will study this thoroughly para magkaroon tayo ng recommendation para sa'ting Presidente kung saka-sakali," she added.

Discussions about the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine were reopened following the increase of dengue cases in the country.

Vergeire earlier said that from January 1 to June 25, a total of 64,797 dengue cases have been recorded across the country.

She said it was 90 percent higher than the number of cases recorded during the same period in 2021.

Vergeire said all regions have exceeded the epidemic threshold, or the number of dengue cases in their respective areas during the same period last year, except for Ilocos and Caraga regions.

Vergeire said the increasing cases of dengue are already “alarming.”

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvaña said that the government should exhaust all efforts to further prevent the fatal effects of the disease.

In a separate television interview on Friday, July 15, Salvaña maintained that Dengvaxia decreases the risk of severe dengue infection if used properly.

Dengvaxia has been controversial after various claims that several children died after receiving the vaccine, which was part of the government’s anti-dengue program, under the administration of late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration ordered the suspension of the sale, distribution and marketing of Dengvaxia, as well as its withdrawal from the market.

This was after Sanofi Pasteur Inc. said that the vaccine poses potential risk if administered to those who have never had dengue infection.

Salvania said there is already a way now in the country to detect a prior dengue infection.

“The attributed risk from giving the dengue vaccine to someone who is seronegative is not any higher than the risk of severe dengue with a second natural infection. So it doesn’t go beyond the actual risk if you had dengue once,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)


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