The recent study on the world’s first dengue vaccine, named Dengvaxia revealed that while it offers protection on all four dengue virus types, its efficacy differs among age groups. An expert from the developer admitted that the vaccine is less effective among children below 9 years old.

Dengvaxia efficacy differs among age groups

Amid the scrutiny on the previous government’s controversial procurement of Dengvaxia, it pays to know how effective the groundbreaking discovery is and how it could protect people from the risks of the mosquito-carried fever.

 In an interview with the SciDev.net, Alain Bouckenooghe, associate vice president and regional head of clinical R&D Sanofi Pasteur revealed the efficacy of Dengvaxia in children younger than nine years old is way lower than those vaccinated in ages nine and above.

 According to Sanofi test results, vaccination in children ages nine to 16 reduces risk of hospitalization by almost 81 percent, while effectiveness against the four strains is at 66 percent. This drops to 56 percent and 45 percent effectiveness for kids below 9 years old, respectively.

Bouckenooghe said the result is tricky since children below nine years old are the most vulnerable to dengue, and by the time they reach the age border, kids had likely been infected with at least one or two strains of the virus already. This means those who had been exposed to dengue would be vaccinated for just one to three strains at the same vaccination cost.

Senate investigates hasty procurement of vaccines

The dengue vaccination had already earned a nod from the World Health Organization (WHO) early this year. The Philippines became the first country to use the vaccine, immunizing 489,000 public school children in April and administering the second of the three-dose vaccine in October.

However, the program is currently under congressional scrutiny over its reported dangers and irregularities after two pupils, who received the first dose of the vaccine, died in April, The Manila Times reported. The anomalous purchase of the vaccines is also questioned by the Senate. Sen. Richard Gordon said the hasty way the vaccine was procured and the program was mobilized is suspicious.

This suspicion led the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to launch an investigation to determine if there are irregularities on the purchase of the P3.5 billion by the Department of Health (DOH) in 2015. The chair of the anti-graft body, Gordon, however said that he will not stand in the way of the dengue vaccination program already underway.

What do you think of the efficacy of Dengvaxia? What about the inquiry into the controversial purchase of the dengue vaccines? Let us know in the comments section below.