Dengvaxia dengue vaccine not distributed in m'sia - health DG

But the country's department of health is now heeding a warning from French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi that it may trigger more severe symptoms in people who have not previously been infected, following a new study.

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More than 1,000 people in the Philippines died from dengue last year, out of more than 211,000 suspected cases, according to the government.

While Sanofi†Dengvaxia is the first-ever approved vaccine for dengue, scientists already recognised it was not perfect and did not protect equally against the four different types of the virus in clinical tests.

Since the dengue immunization was carried out in April 2016, 733,713 children from Central Luzon, the region of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, and Metro Manila were administered Dengvaxia.

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The immunisation program is in line with the recommendation of the World Health Organization for mass vaccination in highly endemic countries, health officials said on Friday.

The virus kills about 20,000 people a year and infects hundreds of millions.

"As far as we know, as far as we are made aware, there are no reported deaths that are related to dengue vaccination", the company's medical director Ruby Dizon told reporters on Monday.

Sanofi Global Medical Head Ng Su Pieng said she would not recommend Dengvaxia for those who have not been infected with dengue in the past.

Sanofi on Monday said there have been no reported deaths in the Philippines related to its vaccine.

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The public is urged to ensure that products used are registered and have a hologram sticker and labelled with a valid registration number.

"Of course, rest assured, monitoring is continuing, we are working with the Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration, to make sure this is maintained".

She said Dengvaxia potentially prevents 15 dengue hospitalizations or 4 clinically severe dengue episodes per 1,000 vaccinees.

The World Health Organisation, though, defines "severe dengue" as "a potentially deadly complication due to plasma leaking, fluid accumulation, respiratory distress, severe bleeding, or organ impairment".

Spokesman Eric Tayag said the agency was "prepared for a worst-case scenario" and that children who have received it are being "followed up for adverse effects following immunisation".

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General manager Ching Santos said Sanofi has also already advised doctors to avoid prescribing Dengvaxia to patients they know who have not had dengue infections.

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