WHO: We did not make ‘blanket’ recommendation on Dengvaxia
Facing a Senate hearing on Thursday, a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated that it did not make a “blanket” recommendation to use the anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, in the immunization drive, saying it is up to the government to make such decision.
WHO Country Representative Dr. Gundo Aurel Weiler explained during the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee the processes being undertaken by the organization when introducing a new vaccine.
First, he said, WHO convenes a group of expert called a strategic advisory group, which is tasked to review all available data and make recommendations on the possible use of a vaccine in countries.
Weiler said the advisory group convened in April 2016 and made recommendations in the middle of the month of the same year. These recommendations, he said, were adopted by the WHO, which was later published in July 2016.
“These position papers did not make blanket recommendation to countries to introduce the dengue vaccine…,” he said during the hearing.
The WHO, he said, simply recommended that countries should consider the introduction of the vaccine only in areas where there are high cases of dengue virus.
“The papers listed a number of conditions that should be met by countries if they want to actually consider introducing the vaccine,” Weiler said.
“The decision about whether to introduce a new vaccine is a decision for government, not the WHO. WHO’s role is to provide the best possible advice based on the available evidence at that time to guide countries in making this decision,” he added.
Besides, he noted that the anti-dengue program was already being implemented even before the WHO published its position paper last July 2016.
“When these position papers were published, we note that the program was actually already on going because it was officially launched prior to the publication of those recommendations,” Weiler said. /kga
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