Last April 4, 2016, the Department of Health (DOH) together with the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) launched the much-awaited administration of dengue vaccines in Marikina City. It was continued in Iba, Zambales where His Excellency, President Benigno Aquino III, together with Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin led the immunization to selected 9 years old students.
The Philippines is the first country to implement dengue vaccination through school-based immunization approach and aims to vaccinate about 1 million Grade 4 pupils aged 9 years old and above enrolled in public schools in Regions III, IV-A, and NCR.
After the successful launch of the dengue immunization last week, the Department of Health received a letter from the Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy in Bangkok, Thailand commending the Philippines in leading the world on its launch of the first public vaccination program against dengue.
“Vaccine implementation alongside vector control is the way forward. The Philippines has played a leading role in all stages of the scientific development of the first dengue vaccine and continues to lead its implementation and evaluation. By launching a large-scale vaccination program across 6,000 public schools of the Philippines, you have set a global example. We hope that other dengue-stricken nations will recognize the need for vaccination programmes.” Professor Usa Thisyakorn, Chair of Asian Dengue Advocacy wrote.
As of April 11, 2016 a total of 81,665 pupils have been immunized with dengue vaccines nationwide. The vaccine will comprise of three doses in six-monthly intervals. The next two doses will be given to the same students who received the first dose. The first dose of the vaccine will b¬e given from April to June 2016 followed by the second dose on October – December 2016 and the last dose on April-June 2017. 107 cases of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) were reported. This is less than one percent of the total immunized children. The top four common reactions were fever, dizziness, vomiting, and rash.
Philippines had the highest incidence in the Western Pacific Region from 2013 to 2015. As of March 26, 2016, a total of 31, 809 suspect dengue cases were reported nationwide. This is 32.8% higher compared to the same time period last year which had a total of 23,951 cases. Most of the cases were from Region IV-A with 5,130 cases out of 31, 809 (16.1%); Region III with 4, 203 cases (13.2%) and Region VII with 3, 479 cases (10.9%).
“A concerted effort is what will get us through the growing dengue crisis. In January 2016, during the inaugural Asia Dengue Summit, a Call to Action was made by the four co-convening host, Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy (ADVA), Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI), Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization for Tropical Medicine (SEAMEO), and Foundation Merieux. The call was to urge governments to take decisive actions, for political commitment, and to avoid undue delays to use licensed and approved new interventions against dengue, such as vaccination.” Professor Usa Thisyakorn added.
Meanwhile, the health chief reiterated that while the vaccine is proven 90% effective in preventing the incidence of severe dengue, cleanliness is still the most fundamental solution against mosquito-borne diseases like dengue. Especially today that the country is stricken by the El Niño phenomenon, the public is reminded to always cover containers which are being used for storing water so it will not be infested by mosquito larvae.
“Dengue vaccines are only a step of our battle against dengue. We will continue to fight against mosquito-borne diseases through the ‘4S campaign’. The 4S means Search & destroy mosquito breeding places, use Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation for fever lasting more than 2 days, and Say NO to indiscriminate fogging. Lahat ng ito ay mangyayari kung sisimulan natin sa ating mga bahay. Sama-sama nating gampanan ang ating papel upang makamit ang Kalusugang Pangkalahatan.” Garin concluded. # Source – www.doh.gov.ph