On Wednesday, Sanofi Pasteur, Sanofi’s vaccine division, announced that the National Ministry of Health of Costa Rica has approved Sanofi Pasteur’s tetravalent dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia®, to protect individuals 9 to 45 years of age living in endemic areas against all four serotypes of dengue. This approval in Costa Rica is the fourth registration of the dengue vaccine in Latin America, and the fifth in the world. Sanofi Pasteur’s dengue vaccine has already been approved in Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador and the Philippines.
“Dengue is a disease that is beginning to hit us hard as a result of increased mobility and urbanization in the country. Already in 2016, we have recorded 7,711 cases of dengue at week 22 which is more than a 500% increase in incidence compared to last year,1 ” said Jorge Martinez, Pediatrician Member of the Pediatrician Society of Costa Rica. “Approval of the dengue vaccine gives us access to critical prevention tool against dengue to curb further spread of this debilitating disease in our country.”
In April 2016, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended endemic countries to consider introduction of Dengvaxia® as part of integrated disease prevention including vector control and community mobilization. The WHO has set the objectives of reducing mortality by dengue by 50% and morbidity by 25% by 2020 in the endemic countries.
“Dengue represents a growing and serious public health issue in many parts of the Americas with significant associated human and economic burden,” according to Cesar Mascareñas, Global Director of Medical Affairs for the Dengue Project, Sanofi Pasteur. “Approval of the dengue vaccine in Costa Rica will give the country’s healthcare providers access to the first clinical preventive tool against dengue, allowing them to better protect their patients against this threat.”
Public vaccinations against dengue began in the Philippines in April, with the goal of initiating the vaccination of 1 million fourth-grade students in highly-endemic regions of the country this year. Introduction of dengue vaccine in private and public immunization clinics in Brazil, Mexico and other countries in Central America are planned also to follow in coming months.