World

Philippines suspends dengue vaccine use

MANILA The Philippines said yesterday it had suspended use of a landmark vaccine for the potentially deadly dengue virus after its manufacturer warned it could worsen the disease in some cases.

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi announced on Wednesday that its world-first dengue vaccine could lead to more severe symptoms for people who had not previously been infected.

The Philippines has vaccinated over 733,000 children with Dengvaxia since 2016 when it became the first to start using it on a mass scale. But yesterday it said the programme had been suspended.

"In the light of this new analysis, the DOH (Department of Health) will place the dengue vaccination programme on hold while review and consultation is ongoing with experts, key stakeholders, and the World Health Organisation," Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.

Sanofi had initially said its Dengvaxia vaccine was "critical" in the fight against dengue, the world's most common mosquito-borne virus.

It said on Wednesday that a new study has confirmed Dengvaxia's benefits for "those who had prior infection".

"For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection," Sanofi said. - AFP

WORLD