390 MIL­LION

Philip­pines pupils get fever vac­cine

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

The Philip­pines has launched the first pub­lic im­mu­ni­sa­tion pro­gramme for dengue fever, seek­ing to ad­min­is­ter to a mil­lion schoolchil­dren the world’s first li­censed vac­cine against a mosquito­borne dis­ease that the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion es­ti­mates infects 390 mil­lion peo­ple a year glob­ally.

Hun­dreds of pupils at a pub­lic school in metropoli­tan Manila’s Marik­ina city were given the first of three shots of Deng­vaxia.

Some of the pupils re­ceived their vac­ci­na­tion shot un­der the glare of cam­eras dur­ing a fes­tive cer­e­mony at a gym­na­sium fes­tooned with mul­ti­coloured bunt­ing and pre­ceded by songs and per­formed by the chil­dren.

The Philip­pines had the highest dengue

dances in­ci­dence in the WHO’s West­ern Pa­cific re­gion from 2013 to 2015, record­ing 200,415 cases last year, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Health.

Health Sec­re­tary Janette Garin called the pro­gramme’s launch “a his­toric mile­stone” in pub­lic health.

“We are the first coun­try to in­tro­duce, adopt and im­ple­ment the first-ever dengue vac­cine through the pub­lic health sys­tem and un­der a pub­lic school set­ting,” she said.

The gov­ern­ment is spend­ing 3.5 bil­lion pesos ($76 mil­lion) to ad­min­is­ter the free vac­cines, which it bought at a dis­counted cost of 3,000 pesos ($65) for three doses for each child. Free vac­cine pro­grammes en­sure that “health should be for all, rich or poor,” Garin said.

The health depart­ment says a study showed that the vac­ci­na­tion of nineyear-old chil­dren for five years start­ing in 2016 can re­duce dengue cases by 24.2 per cent in the Philip­pines. The vac­cine is given as a three-dose se­ries, with the doses com­ing six months apart.

Guil­laume Leroy, Sanofi Pas­teur’s vice pres­i­dent for dengue vac­cine, said that while there are dif­fer­ences in the level of ef­fec­tive­ness against the dif­fer­ent dengue strains, the vac­cine “has shown ef­fi­cacy against all the four serotypes, all the serotypes cir­cu­lat­ing in the world.”

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