Health dept suspends dengue immunization program over defective vaccine

Health dept suspends dengue immunization program over defective vaccine

Health dept suspends dengue immunization program over defective vaccine

Filipino Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said new recommendations would be released later this month by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation, an advisory body of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Health chiefs in the Philippines have suspended the country's dengue immunisation programme after the vaccine's manufacturer admitted it could cause severe cases of the disease in some people.

The company initially had high hopes for its dengue vaccine, touting it as a potential $1-billion-a-year-plus product, but initial sales last year were only 55 million euros and industry analysts have been dialing back expectations.

On Wednesday, Sanofi $SNY said that their investigators had determined that Dengvaxia presented a real threat to patients who were vaccinated against dengue without having first been exposed to it.

Dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever, which are transmitted by a bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito, are acute viral infections that affect infants, young children, and adults. People can be infected with dengue up to four times in their lifetime and they can get severely ill after any of these infections.

Duque said Sanofi is using a classification-that identifies a case of dengue as "severe"- based on previous guidelines in 1996.

"As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, I intend to call for an investigation on the disturbing findings related to the dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia", he said. In a press conference in March 28 of the same year, Garin said that Dengvaxia passed thorough clinical trials and was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). But now, what is deemed severe is when there is an organ failure, water in the lungs or stomach.

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"The real dengue we are afraid of is severe dengue, not the mild ones".

Based on the report, the Dengue vaccine has shown consistent and sustained benefit for those who were previously infected with the dengue virus.

"For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection", it added.

Lecciones noted that Brazil, another country that had a mass dengue vaccination campaign, will continue its public immunization program.

He added there were now no reports of severe dengue infection among those vaccinated.

"The DOH and the Department of Education should also closely monitor the kids that were vaccinated and ensure that proper medical support will be provided to them", he added.

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