Know the FAQs about the Dengue Vaccine

09/ 06/ 2016

In July 2016, The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the world’s first-ever vaccine for dengue fever, a potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus that threatens to infect close to half of the world’s population.


Unlike malaria, there is no established cure for dengue fever, which can cause severe nausea, bone pain, headaches, rashes, bleeding and even death. The virus can last for up to 10 days. About 390 million people are infected by dengue each year in some 120 countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.


Known as Dengvaxia, the vaccine is the product of two decades of research by French-based Sanofi Pasteur. Four countries—Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador and the Philippines—have already licensed Dengvaxia, but WHO’s recommendation will likely spur a host of other developing nations to follow suit at a time when climate change and urbanization is putting increasing numbers of people at risk from the mosquito-borne disease.


What is Dengvaxia?

It is a live attenuated (recombinant) tetravalent vaccine. Tha vaccination schedule consists of 3 injections of 0.5 ml administered at 6-month intervals.


Indication of the dengue vaccine

The indication of the vaccine if for the prevention of dengue illness caused by dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, 3, and 4 in individuals 9-45 years or 9-60 years of age, living in endemic areas.


Contraindications of the dengue vaccine

  1. The manufacturer stipulates that the vaccine is contraindicated in:


  • (1) Individuals with a history of severe allergic reation to any component of the dengue vaccine or after prior administration of the dengue vaccine or a vaccine containing the same ccomponents;


  • (2) Individuals with congenital or acquired immune deficiency that impairs cell-medicated immunity;


(3) Individuals with symptomatic HIV infection or with asymptomatic HIV infectuon when accompanied by evidence of impaired immune function;


(4) Pregnant or breastfeeding women; and that vaccination should be postponed in individuals with moderate to severe febril of acute disease


Is the vaccine effective against all four serotypes of dengue?


Yes, the vaccine’s overall efficacy is based on its documented clinical efficacy against all four serotypes.


What about Zika? Does the dengue vaccine provide protection against this virus too?


While it is true that Dengue and Zika are closely related virus types coming from the same flavivirus family, there are no studies yet to evaluate the potential of cross protection against Zika with the Dengue vaccine.


What value is the vaccine have in dengue outbreaks?


The main value of the vaccine in relation to dengue outbreaks is more in terms of its ability to reduce their intensity and frequency if given in its full 3-dose schedule through large-scale vaccination programs.The dengue vaccine is not intended to be used only in response to an outbreak that is already underway, but as a longer-term prevention strategy for future outbreaks.