Experts make case for more people to be vaccinated against dengue

national March 20, 2017 01:00

By THE NATION

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THAI MEDICAL experts have highlighted the efficacy and safety of Thailand’s first dengue vaccine.



The dengue vaccine registration last October made Thailand one of 14 countries using a vaccine for dengue.

President of the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Society of Asia, Dr Usa Thisyakorn, noted on Friday that it was crucial to produce the vaccine to effectively prevent all four serotypes of the dengue virus, as it could not yet be determined which serotypes would become endemic and when. 

“From clinical trials in 15 countries involving more than 40,000 participants, the vaccine helped prevent symptomatic cases caused by any of the four types by 65.6 per cent, reducing hospitalisations by 80.8 per cent and severe dengue cases by 93.2 per cent. Although not yet 100 per cent effective, it is definitely better than having no prevention at all,” Usa said.

The vaccination schedule is 3 doses, given 6 months apart (at 0, 6 and 12 months), with each dose yielding increasingly preventive results. 

Besides children, adults should also get vaccinated as the adult population increases and fewer children are born, Usa said. 

“We need to change the misconception that dengue fever is a child’s disease. It afflicts people of all ages,” she said. 

“The age indication of dengue vaccine registered in Thailand is 9-45 years old with clinical data highlighting that the vaccine yields the same or even better results in people aged 16-45 than in younger people 9-16 years old,” she said.

President of the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Society of Thailand, Dr Tawee Chotpitayasun-ondh, cited data that the vaccine had nearly 82 per cent efficacy in those who exposed to dengue and 52.5 per cent efficacy in those who have never been exposed to dengue virus before. 

“The dengue vaccine is a mix of attenuated dengue virus and flavivirus, which is non-virulent. On the other hand, any of the four serotypes of dengue virus naturally contracted from mosquitoes is 100 per cent virulent. The data implies that the vaccine does not cause dengue infection... It is thus safe and is approved by the World Health Organisation [WHO],” he said.

“Nevertheless, despite the availability of the vaccine, it is necessary that we adopt other preventive measures such as destroying mosquito-breeding grounds and following the WHO’s guidelines to control the disease. The guidelines include: early diagnosis and treatment; establishing adequate disease monitoring; ensuring vector control in the home and community; quickly deciding on vaccine implementation in endemic countries; and continuing research and study to achieve the best results,” Usa and Tawee concluded.

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