Susceptible poor children in regions with high incidence of dengue will be the first beneficiaries of the government-procured dengue vaccine.
To recall, the Philippines is a proud participant of the 20-year dengue vaccine trial. “The fact that the three phases of the clinical trial has been concluded in the Philippines is a reflection of the efficiency and capability of Filipino researchers. This shows that the world recognizes Philippine expertise in the area of research,” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin said.
In 2013, DOH reported 204,906 cases of dengue, the highest number recorded since the establishment of the National Dengue Prevention and Control Program in 1993 and was 62.7% higher than the 5-year median cases. Though the number of dengue cases slightly decreased in 2014, the 2015 data suggest an increasing trend in cases in the coming years. In 2015, almost 50% of cases came from top three urban regions, namely, Region 3 (17.6%), Region 4 (17.3%), and NCR (12.6%). Based on the Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance Registry data from 2011-2015, dengue can infect an average of 220 Filipinos a day.
Based on the study conducted by Edilo et. al. (2014), the annual medical cost of treatment per case is P16 billion. The weighted average cost of treatment per case is P18,405. It does not include indirect cost for transportation and food and additional cost for absenteeism, lost of productivity due to illness and premature deaths, increased health care cost, and possible reduction of tourism.
In the recent unpublished cost-effectiveness study done by Professor Hilton Lam of the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health, a nationwide annual routine vaccination of 9-year olds starting in 2016 will lead to an estimated 24.2% reduction in dengue cases over a 5-year time horizon, translating to 775,053 cases avoided, 502,000 avoided hospitalization, 22,010 avoided deaths, and almost 21 billion avoided cost to society.
“We are fortunate to be in this era wherein infectious diseases can now be prevented by vaccination. Sa katas ng sin tax, tuloy-tuloy ang kalusugan.” Garin concluded.
—From the Department of Health
Read: Q&A on dengue prevention