Bohol pediatricians already arranged the first market of the dengue vaccine called Dengvaxia here, expecting the stock to arrive anytime this week.
The Department of Health already incorporated dengue vaccination using Dengvaxia, a dengue vaccine manufactured by France-based Sanofi Pasteur, in the National Immunization Program (NIP).
In the meantime, the national government targets Regions 3, 4A and the NCR that posted the most number of dengue cases in the country in the schedule set in April, May and June.
Outside these areas that the national governmentâ€™s NIP covers, pediatricians offer the vaccines at their clinics.
Dr.Â TheresaÂ Maslog, a pediatrician based in Tagbilaran City, confirmed the availability of the dengue vaccine here once the stock of Dengvaxia arrive within this week.
Maslog assured that it would be affordable, although the price could range from P4,000 to P6,000 per shot.
The complete dengue vaccination three shots at an interval of six months.
If a patient gets the first shot today, the second will follow six months after and the third will be six months after the second, Maslog explained.
She further explained that it might involve a big amount, but the cost effectiveness of the vaccine is more beneficial compared to the anxiety of the patient or the parent of a child infected with dengue and the time spent attending to a family member confined at the hospital or the patient himself who has to take a leave from work while being confined at a hospital.
Maslog, however, said there is no definite price yet as of now.
She also clarified that those who are already infected with dengue virus must be treated first and only after the fever has subsided can the vaccine shots be administered, not on the time at the height of dengue fever.
Maslog believes that more parents are expected to submit their children for vaccination at any cost than gamble on the uncertainty of their childrenâ€™s safety from dengue infection.
Dengue is not seasonal that even in dry season, they still noticed many dengue patients in Bohol going to the clinics for treatment, she added.
â€œActually dengue is already a notifiable disease since 1958 and the entire country is now endemic. The incidence is increasing. In fact, health authorities had reported that in recent years, the trend is more than 100,000 cases a year—being recorded in the country,â€ Maslog said.
An area is endemic when all can be affected, where it is almost anywhere. It cannot be theorized that it only affects the children, because the record shows that even adults who are bitten by mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus are affected, she added.
She said doctors in Bohol, especially the pediatricians, are happy that dengue vaccine is finally available.
However, Dengvaxia is only recommended for the 9-45 age group.
This is because there is no study yet that proves the efficacy of the vaccine on the age group above 45 years old or those below nine years old.
It was also one of the questions raised during the launch of the Dengvaxia vaccine on Tuesday last week at Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.
The experts, during the launch, advised those outside the 9-45 age group who wanted to get the vaccine to consult a doctor first for them to be examined if they should be vaccinated.
The study is still ongoing on whether the vaccine can be applied on age groups outside the 9-45 years old range.
Maslog said Dr. Salvacion Gatchalian, immediate past president of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines, had mentioned in one of her lectures that for the last five years in their research, dengue infection is more prevalent in the 9-45 age group. So the analysis is that the vaccine efficacy is better on this age group and the license for the administration of the vaccine is only given for this age group.
In general, it is recommended that everybody subscribes to vaccination as an effective way of preventing any disease—â€œany vaccines for that matter, because prevention is better,â€ according to Maslog.
Dengvaxia, the first dengue vaccine, a tetravalent vaccine covers serotypes 1-4 or the four separate strains of dengue that â€œhave defied preventive control for so longâ€ as by experts were quoted in earlier reports.
However, Dengvaxia may not give 100-percent protection to the persons vaccinated and that vaccination is not a substitute to infection from mosquito bites, Therefore, households should continue with the precautionary measures of eliminating the breeding sites of mosquitoes.