For the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, Dengvaxia and other dengue vaccines are not the answer to curb the dengue cases in the country.
Dengvaxia is not a cure
“Dengvaxia is not a cure, ” said Duque during a news conference in Tacloban City on Thursday.
“The impact that we need to achieve here is really to bring down the number of dengue fever cases reaching epidemic proportion, ” he said.
He also added that Dengvaxia vaccine is more of a prevention.
WHO does not recommend Dengvaxia
The Health Secretary also mentioned that the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the Dengvaxia vaccine since it is not a guaranteed cure for an outbreak. Even mass immunization is not recommended by the organization given the absence of reliable tests proving its effectivity.
Dengvaxia does not have a high reassuring rate according to the secretary.
“The protection of Dengvaxia, although low at 60 percent on the average, is not that reassuring because it’s not a high reassuring rate. Magpaturok ka man, almost 40 ang may dengue.”
He cited Region IV-A and the National Capital Region (NCR) as examples where Dengvaxia was piloted. They have high cases of dengue so far.
“So it’s not enough to make a dent to bring down dengue fever cases, ” he said.
In 2017, the DOH stopped the use of Dengvaxia in the government’s mass immunization campaign after Sanofi Pasteur admitted that the vaccine may pose a risk to patients without prior history of dengue virus infection.
Local government’s resources to fight dengue
The declaration of a national dengue epidemic, according to the Health Secretary, would give local governments access to their quick response funds or calamity funds to fight dengue.
The DOH has P500 million worth in quick response fund, P47 million had been used to address the dengue problem.
Thus the Health Secretary called on all local executives to use their resources in battling dengue and helping their constituents.
However, later Thursday evening, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said that the government is opened to making Dengvaxia available in the market again due to many lives claimed by dengue.