MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is open to reviewing the data and benefits of the Dengvaxia vaccine as dengue cases continue to rise in the country, an official said Tuesday.
This, after infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante said it is high time for the government to review the benefits of the vaccine which is the prevention of hospitalization and prevention of severe dengue.
“Ang ating gobyerno po kasama ang Kagawaran ng Kalusugan, always open naman tayo sa bagong teknolohiya, lalong lalo na kung maipapakita ng ebidensiya na (The government together with the Department of Health is always open to new technology especially if evidence can show that) it can really protect our population,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media forum.
The certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia was revoked in 2018 following the announcement of its manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, that its administration "may lead to more severe symptoms among those who have never been infected by the dengue virus prior to vaccination".
“For us to be able to bring back this kind of vaccine, kailangan completed na po ang evidence natin, marami po tayong proseso at pag-aaral na kailangan isagawa para magawa po natin lahat ito (the evidence must already be complete, there are processes and studies which must be done to do all these),” Vergeire said.
She added the manufacturer must be compliant with the country’s regulations apart from careful study and input from health experts.
Fifteen out of the country’s 17 regions have exceeded the alert or epidemic threshold from May 29 to June 25, 2022.
These include Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cordillera Administrative Region, and the National Capital Region.
The Ilocos Region has yet to reach the threshold.
Meantime, the Caraga Region has previously passed the threshold in April 2022 but was not sustained and has gone back below the threshold.
“Kapag lumalagpas ang area dito sa epidemic threshold, ibig sabihin, ‘yung number of cases sa isang lugar (When the area exceeds the epidemic threshold, it means, the number of cases in a place) is more than what has been expected because we compare our trends or our number of cases from the previous years’ cases at that same time period,” Vergeire said.
The current dengue situation is now “worrisome” as cases rise in most regions alongside growing Covid-19 infections, she added.
The dengue virus mostly affects individuals 15 years old and below. (PNA)