Philippine Medical Association bats for Dengvaxia use
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s largest organization of physicians called on the government to allow the use of the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia on willing patients and on those who have been exposed to the mosquito-borne disease, as cases have soared to more than 208,000 this year.
Since the World Health Organization recognized the use of the vaccine as a preventive measure, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) recommended that this be given to “individuals who are interested, willing and aware of the benefits and possible risks of the vaccine.”
“Clinical trials and studies have shown that the dengue vaccine will help individuals who had previous dengue infection from getting severe disease,” the PMA said in a statement on Saturday.
But the group also said the vaccine should only be given to those at least 9 years old and have had prior dengue infection.
The PMA’s stand comes as the country recorded 208,917 dengue cases (with 882 deaths) as of Aug. 10, more than double the 102,298 cases with 540 deaths recorded in the same period last year.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), 10 regions have already breached the epidemic threshold: Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the National Capital Region.
Despite the clamor from other medical groups to reallow Dengvaxia, the DOH earlier junked Sanofi Pasteur’s appeal for the vaccine’s certificate of product registration (CPR) to be reinstated.
Duque said the efficacy of Dengvaxia was “not the issue” but “Sanofi’s complete disregard of FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations, which were precisely put in place by law to ensure safety.”
Sought for comment on the PMA’s appeal, Duque on Saturday said the department’s recent decision to uphold the FDA revocation of Dengvaxia is “without prejudice to the application for a new CPR.”
“They [Sanofi] can do that. It can be processed in three to six months. We just have to ensure the safety, efficacy, quality [of the vaccine] because that’s the job of the FDA,” he said. —Jovic Yee
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