Paraguay becomes the sixth country in the world to approve the dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, as a key new tool to address dengue burden, which continues to increase in the Southern Cone region of South America, according to a Sanofi Pasteur announcement.
This approval in Paraguay is the fifth registration of the dengue vaccine in Latin America, and the sixth in the world. Sanofi Pasteur’s dengue vaccine has already been approved in Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and the Philippines. Public vaccination against dengue began in the Philippines in April, with the goal of vaccinating 1 million fourth-grade students in over 6,000 public schools in three highly-endemic regions of the country this year. Also, Parana state in Brazil launched the first public dengue vaccination program in the Americas, targeting 500,000 people living in the most highly endemic parts of the State. In addition, Brazilians will be able to access the dengue vaccine at private clinics in the country inland.
“Dengue is a disease that has severely affected our country, and cases have significantly increased in recent years due to multiple factors, some of which are beyond human intervention in the short term, such as climate change and globalization,” said Dr. Celia Martínez de Cuellar, Professor of the Pediatrics Chair at the National University of Asunción. “The approval of the first dengue vaccine is encouraging news, as it is a key new tool for the prevention of dengue, and it will undoubtedly contribute to control this disease, which continues to pose a major public health threat to the people of Paraguay.”
Dengue is endemic in Paraguay, which had seen a large epidemic in 2013 with more than 130,000 cases reported. As of Epidemiological Week 28/2016, an accumulated total of 11,652 cases hospitalized by dengue has been recorded. Cases of dengue are reported from all countries in the Southern Cone region in 2016, where circulation of all four serotypes has been confirmed.
The safety, efficacy and public health value of the dengue vaccine have been ratified by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its position statement about Dengvaxia® published on July 29, which is consistent with the previous positive recommendation of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization to the World Health Organization. The WHO has set the objectives of reducing mortality by dengue by 50% and morbidity by 25% by 2020 in the endemic countries.
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