Health Risk: Philippines Suspends Sale Of Sanofi Dengue Vaccine

A worker shows used anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia inside a vaccine storage room in Sta. Cruz city Metro Manila Philippines

French-based Sanofi Pasteur said its long-term follow-up study of its Dengvaxia vaccine showed sustained benefits for up to six years for those who had previous dengue infection, but that people who never had dengue had an increased risk of a severe case and hospitalisation from the third year after immunisation.

Sanofi is also working with the Philippine Food and Drugs Administration to update product labels to reflect the new information, she added.

On Nov. 29, the company disclosed that it would ask global health regulators to restrict use of its much-touted dengue vaccine to only people who have previously been infected by the virus.

According to United Kingdom public broadcaster the BBC, Sanofi said in a press conference in Manila on Monday that there had been no reported deaths related to its dengue vaccine in the Philippines.

"Like many others in the Philippines, WHO is awaiting the expert analysis of new data and advice about its implications for use of the vaccine", the WHO said in a statement on its website.

"In this group, all fully recovered with proper medical treatment".

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The scare surrounding the disease, which upon infection can progress to progress to the deadly dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, has led scientists to develop the world's first ever dengue fever vaccine called the Dengvaxia vaccine.

The Department of Health procured P3 billion worth of Dengvaxia intended for one million public school children in areas reported to have the highest incidence of dengue in the same year.

A nurse arranges boxes of Sanofi's dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, which have been recalled from local health centers, in the district of Manila on December 5, 2017. But even recent more modest analysts' sales forecasts are now looking unattainable given the safety issue and clinical evidence revealing unequal protection against different strains of dengue.

Health Assistant Secretary and infectious disease specialist Lyndon Lee Suy said they will continuously monitor the condition of Filipino recipients who already received doses of the vaccine.

"The WHO position paper did not include a recommendation to countries to introduce the dengue vaccine into their national immunization programs".

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