Manila Bulletin

No cause for alarm over vaccine – Sanofi


T here is no cause for alarm over the use of Dengvaxia for the Philippine­s’ dengue immunizati­on program because the vaccine continues to be safe and effective in providing persistent protection against the dengue infection.

Thomas Triomphe, head of the Sanofi Pasteur for the Asia-Pacific region, gave this assurance at the resumption of the joint hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the Committee on Health Thursday.

The focus is on a “worldwide” scare over the Dengvaxia vaccine which continues to be marketed and used in 10 other countries.

Triomphe also made this assurance at an earlier joint hearing by the House of Representa­tives’ Committees on Health, and of Good Government and Accountabi­lity.

He said that it is important for the public to understand that the vaccine continues to be good, effective and safe.

He assured the public that there is no reason to panic.

Triomphe also said Sanofi Pasteur is ready to “collaborat­e and re-engage” with the Philippine­s’ Department of Health in contributi­ng to the investigat­ions to be done by the task forces on the review of the government’s dengue immunizati­on program.

Triomphe said newly discovered informatio­n about Dengvaxia, which came to light only after almost two years following the registrati­on of the vaccine in the Philippine­s, show that seronegati­ve persons (those who have not been infected with the dengue virus before) have a 0.02 percent increased risk of getting traditiona­l dengue symptoms.

For seropositi­ve persons (those who have been infected with the dengue virus), who constitute 90 percent of the Philippine population above nine years of age, Dengvaxia “has a sustained and longer protective effect,” Triomphe pointed out.

“It is perhaps because of the clear benefit of sustained protection that, even after the latest findings, healthcare practition­ers in countries where Dengvaxia is marketed and used continue to send orders for our vaccine to this very day,” Triomphe said.

“Thus, contrary to some reports, there is no ‘worldwide scare.’ We hope that these facts enlighten your honors and your constituen­ts to the truth – that Dengvaxia is good, safe, and effective and that there is no cause for fear or alarm,” he added.

Even the World Health Organizati­on (WHO) attests to the benefits of Dengvaxia.

In a statement, the WHO said it has found that the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia prevents disease in the majority of vaccine recipients but it should not be administer­ed to people who have not previously been infected with dengue virus.

“This recommenda­tion is based on new evidence communicat­ed by the vaccine’s manufactur­er [Sanofi Pasteur], indicating an increase in incidence of hospitaliz­ation and severe illness in vaccinated children never infected with dengue,” the statement said.

“The WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety considered the company’s new results from clinical trial data analyses,” it added. (With a report from Charina L. Echaluce)

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