People advised to delay getting dengue vaccination

People are advised to delay getting a dengue vaccination during this time, pending a decision by a subcommittee on building of the immune system on Dec 14, according to Dr Tawee Chotepittayasunon, president of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of Thailland (PIDST).

Dr Tawee said doctors and experts held a meeting on Dec 7 to analyse information about dengue vaccination.

The information says the dengue vaccine works well with people who used to contracted the disease.  But, those who have never had the disease before and received the dengue vaccine are found to have a chance of contracting the disease at the rate of 1.4 times more than those who have never contracted the disease and never received the vaccine. However, no case of death as a result of this has been reported.

The subcommittee on the building of the immune system will consider this information on Dec 14 and is expected to come out with some recommendations.  During this time, the people are advised to delay getting the dengue vaccine.

The dengue vaccine has been registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Thailand since 2016.  The vaccine has been available at private hospitals.

According to a company supplying the vaccine, Thailand has ordered 30,000 doses of the vaccine and about 10,000 have been used.

Dr Tawee said before giving the vaccine, doctors should carefully check health records of people who want it.  The suitable ages for taking the vaccine are between 9 to 45 years.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said the people should not worry about the order by the Philippine Department of Health to suspend giving the dengue vaccine to people after detecting side effects.

Although the vaccine being used in Thailand is of the same kind as that in the Philippines, the Thai Public Health Ministry has not suspended the use of it.

Dr Piyasakol said Thailand places more emphasis on prevention and destruction of the breeding sources of mosquitoes.

He said the dengue vaccine has not yet been included in the standard list of vaccines in Thailand and it is available only at private hospitals.  Moreover, this vaccine is only 60% effective, which means those who used to contract the disease can have it again, but in a lesser degree of seriousness.