Dengue vaccine will soon be available in the country, according to Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janet Garin.
The vaccine, produced by French company Sanofi Pasteur, is recommended for people aged 9 to 45 years old.
“We don’t recommend it [above 45 years old] because there would be other interactions. You would’ve been exposed to many diseases. The safety has not been established that well if you inject it above 45 years old… That is why we want to play on the safe side,” Garin explained.
Since only one company is manufacturing, the vaccine is expensive.
During the APEC summit in November 2015, the country was given a discount after the Department of Finance held a meeting with the pharmaceutical company’s executives. Moreover, the Philippines was given an additional 34% discount after President Benigno Aquino III met with another executive during the COP21 [21st Conference of Parties] in Paris, France.
A portion of the amount coming from the sale of the vaccine to private patients will be used to subsidize government beneficiaries. Students in Grade 4 and Grade 5 will be the beneficiaries of the government since they are the usual victims of dengue.
The government has allotted P3 billion in the 2016 budget for the dengue vaccine. Garin further revealed that the country is spending P16 billion annually to fight dengue.
What are the symptoms of Dengue?
A painful, weakening mosquito-borne disease caused by closely related dengue virus, dengue affects approximately 390 million people worldwide. About 96 million of these cases result into illness, according to WebMD.
Its symptoms, which usually start four to six days after infection and may last for up to 10 days include sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, fatigue, severe joint and muscle pain, nausea, skin rash (appears two to five days after onset of fever), vomiting, as well as mild bleeding.
Majority of cases happen in the tropical areas of the world. People living in the Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Southern China, The Pacific Islands, Southern Island, Mexico, The Carribean, Africa and Central and South America are at greatest risk of dengue.