Cleanliness remains best weapon vs dengue, not vaccine

Sun Star | 21 Feb 2016

EVEN with the launch of the world’s first dengue vaccine, the Department of Health (DOH) is reminding the public that it still better to maintain cleanliness in the community to prevent dengue outbreak.

DOH secretary Janette Garin said having the dengue vaccine available in the market does not mean that removing potential mosquito breeding sites is already unnecessary.

“Even with dengue vaccination, we are not saying that if we vaccinate children we will ultimately solve the problem of dengue. It won’t. Cleanliness remains to be the solution to good health,” Garin said.

The health chief added that preventing dengue ultimately requires the reduction, if not elimination, of the mosquito population.

Two weeks ago, international pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi Pasteur, launched Dengvaxia®, known as the world’s first dengue vaccine, in the Philippines and are now available in the private market.

As to the possibility of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) providing coverage to it, the DOH head expressed reservations to it owing to the vaccine’s steep cost.

“One does, let’s say it costs P4,500 or P5,000. But we need three doses, which would mean P12,000 to P15,000. And because it is available for all 9 to 45 years old, almost everyone in the family can avail it,” said Garin.

She said that each member with dependents only pay an annual premium of P2,400.

“So PhilHealth is looking at the point that it may not be that financially feasible for them, because you also have to look at its sustainability,” Garin said.

The DOH earlier said that it is set to provide free dengue vaccine to 1,077,623 nine-year old students enrolled in public schools in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.

Last year, the DOH recorded a total of 200,415 dengue cases in the country, which is higher by 65 percent when compared to the 121,580 cases reported in 2014.

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