Over the weekend we reported that the Philippines, one of four countries to approve the Sanofi Pasteur  dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, and the first in Asia, were to commence the first dengue vaccine campaign on Apr. 4.

Image/Howard the Duck
Image/Howard the Duck

Today, in response to the Philippines campaign, Sanofi Pasteur released the following:

Sanofi and its vaccines global business unit Sanofi Pasteur announced today that the first public dengue immunization program has started in the Philippines. At a major launch event, hosted by the Department of Health (DoH) of the Philippines, details about the country’s plan to vaccinate 1 million public school children were shared with both international and national press. The Filipino health authorities, led by DoH Secretary Janette Garin, stand as global frontrunners in dengue prevention. This initiative sends a strong message to the rest of the endemic world that dengue vaccination is a critical addition to the integrated disease prevention efforts needed to more effectively manage dengue burden.

Sanofi Pasteur’s tetravalent dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia®, was approved for use in individuals 9-45 years of age for the prevention of dengue fever caused by all four serotypes on 22nd December 2015 in the Philippines. The vaccine’s anticipated impact on dengue burden is expected to stem from its documented ability to prevent 8 out of 10 dengue hospitalizations and up to 93% of severe dengue that includes hemorrhagic dengue fever that can be fatal in vaccinated study participants 9 years and older.

The public immunization program launched today in the Philippines will begin vaccinating 1 million students from 6,000 public schools this year in three highly dengue-endemic regions of the country. Dengvaxia® was made available for private sector vaccination in the Philippines in February.

Olivier Charmeil, Executive Vice President, Sanofi Pasteur, commends the Philippines on the launch of the first public dengue immunization program in the world: “The Philippines’ scientific and healthcare communities have been important collaborators in the development of Dengvaxia®, participating in all three phases of the clinical study program that involved over 40,000 individuals from 15 countries. Ensuring access to this approved vaccine in a public immunization program attests to the Filipino health authority’s commitment to add this new dengue prevention tool to their integrated disease management strategy for a disease that continues to represent a major public health threat to their country.”

Asia currently bears 70% of the world’s dengue burden ; in the Philippines alone 200,000 cases of dengue were reported in 2015.  A new analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine on 24th March reports that the Philippines had the highest incidence of confirmed dengue in the 10 endemic countries that participated in the clinical efficacy studies for Dengvaxia®. The analysis also reported that up to 15% of febrile disease in children 9 years and older in the Philippines is due to dengue.

Dr. Cecilia Montalban, President of The Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, said: “This first dengue vaccine has been developed and proven effective in countries like the Philippines where dengue is a major public health priority. As a physician and a mother, I am proud that my country plays a historic role in dengue prevention.”

Sanofi Pasteur is committed to working closely with the Philippines government to facilitate successful introduction of the dengue vaccine, as well as monitor the impact of dengue vaccination in the country with an extensive post-marketing communication and surveillance plan, consistent with the recent Call to Action on countries issued by the Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy (ADVA) at the Asia Dengue Summit in February.