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Dengue vaccine available in PHL market next week

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janet Garin on Monday announced that the dengue vaccine will enter the Philippine market next week.

"Philippines is the only country where three phases of the clinical trial were done... It's a reflection of how good our researchers are," Garin explained in a television interview.

Garin added that the government has already set P3 billion in the 2016 budget for the dengue vaccine.

She said the dengue vaccine is expensive because only one company is producing it, the Sanofi Pasteur.

The Philippines was given a discount when the Department of Finance met with the company's executives during the APEC Summit in November.
An additional discount of 34 percent was given to the Philippines after President Benigno Aquino III met with another executive in France, she said.

"When the President visited Paris for the COP21 [21st Conference of Parties], he had a meeting with the executive of this company and we were given an additional 34 percent discount," she said.

Garin, meanwhile, said that part of the amount from the sale of dengue vaccine to private patients will be used to subsidize the government's beneficiaries.

However, the dengue vaccine is only recommended for people who are 9 to 45 years old.

"We don't recommend it [above 45 years old] because there would be other interactions. You would've been exposed to many diseases. The safety has not been established that well if you inject it above 45 years old... That is why we want to play on the safe side," she explained.

As for the government, Garin said that the vaccine will be given to Grade 4 to Grade 5 students or children from nine to 10 years old since they are the usual victims of dengue.

According to the Health secretary, the Philippines has been spending P16 billion a year to combat dengue.

Most dengue cases were recorded in the National Capital Region (NCR), Region III, and Region IV-A. —Trisha Macas/ALG, GMA News