What You Should Know about the
Dengue Vaccine that Has Arrived in the PH
In December 2015, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration purchased the world’s first approved vaccine for dengue, the aedes aegypti-borne disease that has wreaked havoc around the country, even causing a state of calamity in Bulacan and Cavite in recent years. The Philippines is also the first Asian country to approve the sale of Dengvaxia, manufactured by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi.
Now that we have Dengvaxia finally arriving to alleviate the weight of the mosquito-borne disease that has plagued our country, here are the answers to any questions you might have about it and what benefits it will bring to our country.
8. What is the vaccine?
Last December 2015, Dengvaxia was approved as the world’s first dengue vaccine in Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines, where a large percentage of worldwide patients are from.
It is confirmed that Dengvaxia’s consistent efficacy of the vaccine and longer-term safety profile for the nine to 16 year old age group can prevent 8 out of ten hospitalizations and up to 93% of severe dengue cases, as well as reduce dengue from the four (out of five) serotypes in two-thirds of participants.
7. How did they come up with the vaccine?
Dengvaxia or CYD-TDV is a product of a 20-year study by the Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi. Sanofi conducted trials (phase I, II, III) to over 29,000 participants aged two to 17 years old from Latin America and Asia. The participants were given the vaccine at the first, sixth and twelfth months of their participation and were observed over the next 25 months after their first dose. The participants were also subjected to ongoing hospital-based follow-ups for four additional years.
Phase III of the clinical studies were completed in 2014 to evaluate the primary objective of the vaccine’s efficacy. The Philippines is one of the countries that participated in the three phases of the study.
6. What is the state of dengue in the Philippines?
400 million people are annually infected by dengue and two-thirds come from Asia, according to the World Health Organization. In September 2015, almost 100,000 cases were reported in the country, an increase of 23.5% from 2014’s 75,117 registered cases. The 269 death toll was lower than the past year’s 316. Although the DOH has done its fair share of prevention campaigns and projects against dengue, the numbers still do not show much improvement.
According to Rose Capeding, the chief of the Department of Microbiology at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, the annual economic damage that dengue inflicts costs the country P16.7 billion.
Aside from being one of the countries with the highest number of dengue-infected citizens, another reason for the prevention of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases is the Zika virus, which is growing at a rapid pace in South American countries. Hawaii has already announced a state of emergency, and an estimated 1.5 million cases in Brazil have been confirmed. The Zika virus has already found its way to the US, UK and Germany, which is enough reason for the government and population not to let their guards down.
5. How many vaccines will we receive?
300,000 doses of the vaccine will be readily available to the private market, according to Sanofi Pasteur Country Manager Ching R. Santos. Since last week, doctors have already been able to place orders of Dengvaxia. Vaccinations were said to have started last Saturday, according to Santos.
The vaccines will be distributed in the country by Zuellig Pharma.