MANILA–The Department of Health (DOH) said that as of now it has no plan yet to expand its dengue immunization program by targeting another set of recipients.
According to DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, while its dengue immunization program among the nine years old or grade 4 students is about to finish by July, 2017, they cannot give yet a go signal for next batch of recipients for the immunization program.
“There is no plan yet. And besides there is no allocated budget for continuing (expansion of) the program,” Ubial said.
Ubial also noted that they will still wait for the recommendation that of the National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee (NAEFIC).
NAEFIC is the group of doctors monitoring the immunization that started on the early part of 2016 then under the leadership of former Health Secretary Janette L. Garin of the Aquino Administration.
The program was implemented to poorest of the poor Grade 4 students in public schools of Central Luzon, Metro Manila and Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon) region to protect them against dengue.
They were identified as recipients because based on the records that there is high incidence of dengue disease in these areas.
After Ubial was appointed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, she said that she intends to continue any project started by the past administration provided that this has been proven effective.
“Let’s wait for the result of the adverse events, the result of the implementation because these will also affect the beliefs and perspective of the parents,” she added.
Dengue, a disease common in tropical and sub-tropical countries is transmitted through the bite of an Aedes mosquito. It is fatal and commonly affects children.
The DOH believes the providing protection to this sector is also a way of protecting their families as well or people near to them because if they are protected or immunized against dengue they cannot be agents to transfer the dengue disease to others.
The vaccine was procured by DOH from SANOFI with a discount in support of the school-based immunization program.
The vaccine obtained a registration from DOH Food and Drug Administration on December 2015 after completing the more than 20 years of clinical trials and research.
The vaccine were administered in three separate doses and six months apart.
The last part or phase of administration of the vaccine is currently being done (April to June) among the recipients to complete the full dose.
After which, NAEFIC will take its turn by coming out with recommendation which will determine how the health sector will decide next in terms of expanding the program or not.