Dengue Vaccine yet to be approved in Malaysia

Malaysia has no immediate plans to follow in the footsteps of Singapore, which has approved the world’s first dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said the ministry was still doubtful of the vaccine’s efficacy in reducing the four serotypes of dengue: Den-1, Den-2, Den-3 and Den-4.

Studies have shown that overall, the Sanofi-manufactured vaccine is effective at reducing dengue by 60% and reducing severe dengue by 84%.

According to a news report, when used against the Den-1 and Den-2 strains which account for three-quarters of the dengue cases in Singapore, the efficacy of the vaccine is 50% and 40% respectively, compared with 75% and 77% for the other two strains.

“We still have to look into this. The vaccine does not have the same efficacy for all the four strains and in Malaysia, we have more of Den-1 and Den-2.

“We are still in the process of registering the vaccine but this does not mean we will use it immediately. We are still doubtful of its efficacy. As it is, we have no plans to use it commercially,” he told reporters at a press conference at the National Heart Institute (IJN) here yesterday.

According to statistics from the ministry’s Crisis Preparedness Response Centre, 186 dengue-related deaths were recorded between January and Oct 1 this year.

Earlier, Dr Hilmi launched a first-of-its-kind collaboration in Malaysia between IJN and global payments technology company Visa.

With the partnership, IJN offers up to 25% exclusive discounts on all its six wellness packages to all local and international Visa cardholders. Cardholders need to produce their credit or debit cards upon registration.

IJN chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub said the partnership would further boost Malaysia as the preferred medical tourism destination.

“Our cost here is very competitive compared with other countries because the Government controls the rate,” he said. The promotion starts immediately and lasts until December next year.

/theSTAR 07--10-2016

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