Following a number of countries–Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Paraguay and the Philippines, the Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA) today approved the use of the Sanofi Pasteur dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.
The vaccine has been approved for use for the prevention of dengue disease caused by dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4 in individuals aged 12 to 45 years.
Dengvaxia works like a “booster” that is more effective in protecting individuals who already have baseline immunity due to a previous dengue infection, the health ministry notes. It is more effective in countries where there is high prevalence of dengue. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend that countries implement a national vaccination program using Dengvaxia when the population to be vaccinated has a prevalence of previous dengue infection below 50 percent.
Singapore has relatively low prevalence of dengue infection compared to other Southeast Asian countries. For this reason, the vaccine will be less effective here, health officials said. The Ministry of Health (MOH)’s Expert Committee on Immunization does not recommend rolling out Dengvaxia vaccination as a national program as it would not be a clinically and cost-effective means to tackling dengue infection in Singapore. However, individuals who wish to be vaccinated with Dengvaxia should have access to the vaccine, in consultation with their doctor.
Through Monday, Singapore has reported more than 12,000 dengue fever cases, including seven deaths.