The second round of dengue vaccinations for Grade Four students in public schools will proceed as planned in October, Health Spokesperson Eric Tayag announced on Tuesday.
In a press briefing at the Department of Health, Tayag said the second of three doses for Grade 4 students aged nine and above will be administered despite rumors of the newly-approved vaccine having negative side-effects.
"Gusto naming linawin po dito na yung ganun po ay na-obserbahan nila sa vaccine trial, dun sa mga bata na maaga nilang binigyan ng bakuna. Kaya nga ang rekomendasyon sa amin ng WHO (World Health Organization), kung i-introduce namin yung vaccine, ay sa mga bata lamang nine and above," Tayag said.
The only adverse reaction to the dengue vaccine observed in the first round of the health department's inoculation program in April is irritation and pain around the injection site and possible introduction of dengue if the vaccinated child is younger than nine.
"Bakit po yun (age limit)? Kung ang bakuna po- kasi virus po yun- kung ang bakuna ang unang exposure niya sa dengue virus, at bago niya ma-kumpleto yung bakuna, magkaroon siya ng natural infection sa dengue, dun nila na-obserbahan nagkaroon ng dengue illness na severe na," Tayag explained.
Latest estimates from the DOH from January to August 2016 puts the number of dengue cases at 100,000, marking an increase of 16 percent from the same period last year.
"Wala kaming na-diskubreng mga epidemic. Ito ay inaasahan naming madadagdagan pa sapagkat ang kasagsagan po ng dengue sa atin ay yung buwan ng Setyembre at Oktubre," Tayag said.
Around 489,003 students from the National Capital Region (NCR), CALABARZON, and Central Luzon are estimated to receive their second shots in October.
Students will be fully inoculated in a year as each dose requires a six-month interval between each shot.
The program is part of DOH's school immunization program with the Department of Education and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Mexico recently allowed the distribution and use of Dengvaxia, the dengue vaccine Philippines and Parana in Brazil is distributing, after becoming the first country to give the vaccine regulatory approval in December 2015.