Jump in dengue cases may prompt DOH  to review data on Dengvaxia’s efficacy

Amid the alarming jump in dengue cases across the country, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said they are open to suggestions to bring back the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine as long as evidence to its efficacy would be completed first. 

This was stressed by Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire after she was asked to comment on the statement of Dr. Rontgene Solante, an infectious disease expert, that it may just be the right  time for the government to review the data on Dengvaxia vaccine. 

“Marami tayong proseso at pag-aaral na kailangang isagawa para magawa natin lahat ng ito [There are a lot of processes and studies that we need to do],” Vergeire said on the possibility of bringing back the said vaccine. 

The DOH, in a decision dated August 19, 2019, has upheld the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) permanent revocation of the Certificates of Produce Registration (CPRs) of dengue vaccine Dengvaxia due to the continued failure of manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur Inc. to submit post-approval requirements. 

Epidemic threshold of dengue 

Meanwhile, Vergeire said that 15 out of 17 regions exceeded the alert/epidemic threshold for the past four weeks (May 29 to June 25, 2022). 

These are: Regions 2, 3, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cordillera Administrative Region, and National Capital Region. 

The DOH said that Region 1 has yet to reach the said threshold while Region 13, on the other hand, has previously passed the threshold back in April 2022 but was not sustained and has gone back below the threshold. 

“It is important to observe DOH’s reminders to avoid getting infected by dengue and other W.I.L.D Diseases, and enjoy the rest of the rainy season,” Vergeire said. 

Vergeire also encouraged the public to practice the 4 o’clock habit, practicing 4s dengue strategy: “Search and destroy” mosquito-breeding sites, employ “Self-protection measures” (i.e., wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and daily use of mosquito repellent), “Seek early consultation”, and “Support fogging/spraying” only in hotspot areas where increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak.

Image credits: AP/Bullit Marquez

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