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Department speeds up dengue jab

Department speeds up dengue jab

Public health authorities said Wednesday they were accelerating a review of the controversial Dengvaxia dengue vaccine’s efficiency after its use was halted in the Philippines last week.

Although the vaccine was registered in Thailand on Sept 30 last year after winning approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it has yet to be included in the country’s standard immunization list. Authorities are still in the process of reviewing information about the vaccine including the epidemiological data and assessing whether it will be cost-effective to make the vaccine a part of the country’s standard immunization package, said Dr Suwanchai Watthanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC).

Last week, the Department of Health in the Philippines suspended the use of Dengvaxia produced by French drug giant Sanofi. The Philippines has halted the distribution of the vaccine and ordered an investigation into the immunization of more than 730,000 children who received the jab following an announcement by Sanofi that it could worsen the disease in some cases if given to those not previously infected by the dengue virus, according to news agencies. Dr Suwanchai said while waiting for the WHO to formally react to the matter, all the DDC could do is assure people who have already acquired dengue immunity after a previous infection that they will experience less severe symptoms after getting the shot.

“Although Thailand has already begun giving the dengue vaccine to interested people, mainly at privately run hospitals, the vaccine is only seen as one measure to control dengue and it still has to be used all along with other key disease prevention measures,” he said.  Source: Bangkok Post