WHO did not recommend use of anti-dengue vaccine, says statement
Contrary to a December 3 statement of former Health Secretary Janette Garin, the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines clarified that it did not recommend the use of anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in international immunization programs.
“The WHO position paper did not include a recommendation to countries to introduce the dengue vaccine into their national immunization programs,” WHO Philippines said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Rather, WHO outlined a series of considerations national governments should take into account in deciding whether to introduce the vaccine, based on a review of available data at the time, along with possible risks,” WHO explained.
On December 3, Garin said in an interview that she implemented the immunization program in the country following WHO instructions.
The health organization stated three cases to look at before using the anti-dengue vaccine.
“First, use of the vaccine should only be considered in areas where a high proportion (preferably at least 70%) of the community had already been exposed to the virus; second, the vaccine should only be provided to people 9 years of age and above; and third, people being vaccinated should receive 3 doses,” WHO said.
Further, the organization confirmed in the same statement that the three conditions were present in the country mid-April of 2016.
“WHO acknowledged mid-April 2016 that these conditions appeared to be met in the 3 regions of the Philippines in which the dengue vaccination effort was already ongoing at that time – noting that the decision to roll out the vaccine had been taken by the DOH before WHO’s advice became available,” WHO added.
The organization is waiting for the advice of its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization after it reviewed the new evidence, WHO said.
WHO continues to advise the public to seek a medical expert if they have signs of dengue like high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands and/or rash.
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