Hope against dengue
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
One of the most heartening reports to come out from the medical world is the availability now of a vaccine against one of the traditional ailments in the country that is dengue.
More encouraging is the fact that the vaccine, developed by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur over more than 20 years of study, has already been shipped to the Philippines. It was also noted that the vaccine had already been approved in Mexico, Brazil and El Salvador and had been proven effective in protecting 65 percent of individuals nine years of age and older, against the disease.
This is further good news to the Philippines where about P16.7 billion is spent every year to combat the disease. The Philippine Foundation for Vaccination has pointed out that more than 110,000 people are reported to contract dengue every year in our country. The Department of Health, after learning of the work on the vaccine went on to assess how our country can benefit from this breakthrough.
It is also reassuring to note that the World Health Organization believes that a dengue vaccine could be a vital part of realizing its goal of reducing dengue mortality by at least 50 percent and morbidity by at least 25 percent by the year 2020.
The Sanofi Pasteur pharmaceutical company has also continued working with the Department of Health in the Philippines and hoping to make the vaccine available to both private and government hospitals and also to the marginalized sector of society. In April this year, the Health Department began the administration of the vaccine in three regions of the country.
So far, there does not appear to be any negative reports on the effects of the vaccine. Hopes have therefore risen as to the potential of controlling dengue and removing it from the scene like the dangerous ailments we used to suffer from such as leprosy, tuberculosis, and smallpox, and other common childhood diseases that proper vaccination and immunization have prevented.*