Dengvaxia works if used properly, says infectious disease expert
MANILA, Philippines — From a scientific viewpoint, it is “very clear” that the Dengvaxia vaccine works, an infectious disease expert said Friday amid increasing dengue cases in the country.
Dr. Edsel Salvana said science has shown that Dengvaxia vaccine is effective in decreasing the risk of severe dengue if administered to those who have previously contracted the mosquito-borne disease.
“Regulatory-wise, I really don’t have any comments there because I’m not a bureaucrat, I am not a regulatory person,” Salvana said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“But from a science perspective, it’s very clear that if we use Dengvaxia properly and people who have had at least one bout of dengue – it does decrease your risk of severe disease by a lot,” he added.
READ: DOH to ‘thoroughly’ study, gather evidence on dengue vaccine – Vergeire
Salvana also pointed out that Dengvaxia is being used in the United States and Europe.
“In fact, a lot of our own kababayans, if they can afford it, some would bring their kids to Singapore just to get Dengvaxia. So from a science standpoint, the vaccine works as long as it’s properly used,” he said.
In 2017, manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur said the anti-dengue vaccine poses a risk to those inoculated but were not previously infected by dengue.
READ: Citing risks, DOH stops P3.5-B dengue vaccine drive
Unlike before, however, Salvana said there are now tools available to check for prior dengue infection.
“We also have the tools now where we can actually check for dengue infection or prior dengue infection in someone before they get the vaccine so that will decrease the risk of having severe disease as a result of injecting somebody who has not had dengue,” he said.
“We have the tools to make this safer and the science does support the fact that it does decrease the risk of severe dengue, especially in children,” he added.
A criminal case was previously filed by the Public Attorney’s Office against former health secretary Janette Garin over the deaths of children inoculated with Dengvaxia vaccine in 2016.
Garin pleaded not guilty to this, saying that following Sanofi’s findings, “there was .003 or 001 percent increased risk for severe dengue and additional one day of hospitalization for those who got a Dengvaxia vaccine and are yet to be infected with dengue. But no one died.”
Experts have recently reiterated their call for authorities to again consider the use of Dengvaxia in the country which currently has no anti-dengue vaccine available since the Food and Drug Administration permanently revoked Dengvaxia’s certificate of product registration following a controversy linking it to the deaths of children who received the shot.
READ: Dengue cases hit nearly 65,000 from January to June 25; 90% up from last year
In January 2019, the Department of Health said no death has been confirmed to be directly attributable to Dengvaxia.
Dengvaxia is the world’s first commercially available vaccine against dengue fever – and probably the only one to date.
Gov’t should review Dengvaxia vaccine amid rising dengue cases — expert
PH needs vaccine for dengue as disease remains a threat despite drop in cases – expert
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