Health dept suspends dengue immunization program over defective vaccine

Health dept suspends dengue immunization program over defective vaccine

Drugmaker Sanofi says that its dengue vaccine, the world's first, should only be given to people who have previously been sickened by the virus, according to new long-term data.

Sanofi said it was writing to national regulatory agencies proposing that vaccination should not be recommended for individuals who have not been previously infected by dengue virus.

Duque said Dengvaxia was the first dengue vaccine to be licensed after being approved in Mexico in December 2015.

"Put on hold muna tayo sa ating vaccination sa dengue", Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a media briefing on Friday. The vaccine is now recommended in most dengue-endemic countries for people over age nine. Dengue is an acute viral infection, which is transmitted through the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito and may result in death if left untreated.

After an analysis showed that Sanofi's highly touted dengue vaccine could lead to more serious infections if used in the wrong setting, the company is requesting a label change that will likely lead to fewer eligible recipients.

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Health chiefs in the Philippines have suspended the country's dengue immunisation programme after the vaccine's manufacturer admitted it could cause severe cases of the disease in some people.

The company said it expected the new findings to cost it £88m.

Health spokesperson Lyndon Lee Suy said "It's totally different from the current guidelines of the WHO". But now, what is deemed severe is when there is an organ failure, water in the lungs or stomach.

"For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection", it said.

"They immunized nearly the same number as the ones vaccinated here. We are working with health authorities to ensure that prescribers, vaccinators and patients are fully informed of the new findings, with the goal of enhancing the impact of Dengvaxia in dengue-endemic countries", said Dr Su-Peing Ng, global medical head, Sanofi Pasteur.