MANILA — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the marketing of the tetravalent dengue vaccine in the country.

“Approval of the first dengue vaccine in Asia, which bears 70 percent of global disease burden, is a major milestone in dengue prevention and public health,” said Sanofi Pasteur President and chief executive Olivier Charmeil.

Charmeil said that the approval marked the country as the first country in Asia that supported the licensing of a vaccine that could contribute to prevention of dengue.

The dengue vaccine was first approved in Mexico.

The vaccine will be effective in the prevention of the disease caused by all four dengue types among individuals from nine to 45 years old.

Based on the studies, dengue is a major public health priority in tropical and subtropical countries in Asia and Latin America.

Charmeil also said that the vaccine was perceived to be having the greatest potential to reduce dengue burden globally and would help achieve the World Health Organization’s goal to reduce dengue mortality by 50 percent and morbidity by 25 percent by 2020 in endemic countries.

The vaccine is a product of over two decades of scientific innovation and collaboration, as well as 25 clinical studies in 15 countries around the world, including the Philippines, involving over 40,000 volunteers.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) immediately welcomed the approval of the vaccine versus dengue biting mosquitoes, citing that the approval of the vaccine could result to attracting a big number of foreigners into coming to the Philippines to get vaccinated.

“It’s part of the pride of the country. Yung ibang foreigners pupunta dito at dito na magpapa-vaccine. Kunwari taga-Thailand, taga-Vietnam, pupunta sila dito at magbabakasyon tapos they will choose to avail them,” Health Secretary Janette Garin said.

The vaccine is initially offered to the private citizens.

Garin added that at this point in time, the government could not still decide to procure dengue vaccines right away as there were several procedures to follow.

She added that several factors and considerations would be made before coming to the decision because price as well as to who should be given priority first or targeted with the procurement process if ever still have to be weigh a lot in terms of determining the recipients.

She earlier said that since the vaccine was still new, they would still need to study its cost.

The Health Chief added that the DOH had been procuring vaccines for their immunization program in terms of cost-effective mechanisms wherein the price of the vaccine are negotiated as part of the corporate social responsibility of the manufacturer.

With that mechanism, the vaccines that are procured for the immunization program of DOH are being paid at a lower price compared with the amount being offered in private clinics.

Dengue is a disease characterized by sudden onset of high fever which may last from two to seven days.

Joint and muscle pain and pain behind the eyes, weakness, skin rashes, nose bleeding when fever starts to subside, abdominal pain, vomiting of coffee-colored matter, dark-colored stools, and difficulty in breathing may be experienced by a person afflicted with it.

The mosquitoes thrived in clean stagnant water and in other things where mosquitoes can breed.

As an effort to counter it the DOH always advise the public to unite in maintaining clean surroundings.

Insecticide Treated Screens (ITS) were also put up in selected public school nationwide to protect children this year as part of the intense efforts in protecting the children from getting sick with dengue. Leilani S. Junio/PNA/