The Department of Health said this week that it had vaccinated 81,665 school children aged nine years old against dengue under its free immunization program in public schools in three regions in the country.
The program targets 1 million grade 4 school children in the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.
The vaccination is being conducted through a school-based immunization program through the cooperation with Department of Education and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The first dose was given April 4 upon the program’s launch in Parang Marikina Public School. Health Secretary Janette Garin led the event.
The following day, the same program was launched in Iba, Zambales with Garin and President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The anti-dengue vaccine (Dengvaxia) is composed of three doses to be injected within six months of each other.
The vaccine was made available to the “poor children” as one of President Aquino’s goal of reducing the “gaps” between the rich and the poor in terms of accessing “hard to afford” cost of vaccines that can help reduce vulnerability to vaccine-preventable illnesses.
The vaccine was procured at a discounted price by the DoH through the corporate social responsibility program of Sanofi Pasteur.
The anti-dengue vaccine was procured at P3.5 billion for the one million targeted grade four school-children from public schools.
The anti-dengue vaccine is estimated to cost P15,000 or higher for the three doses in private hospitals.
Meanwhile, the agency noted some 107 cases of Adverse Event Following Immunization based from reported monitoring which were recorded for transparency.
“This is less than one percent of the total immunized children. The top four common reactions were fever, dizziness, vomiting, and rash,” said Secretary Garin.
Garin clarified earlier or prior to vaccination that there are some common reactions that will be observed to some children during immunization. These, however, can subside within 24 hours.
The Philippines had the highest incidence of dengue in the Western Pacific Region from 2013 to 2015. As of March 26, a total of 31,809 suspected dengue cases were reported nationwide, 32.8 percent higher compared to the same time period last year.