Singapore will make the world's first dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, commercially available from this week. After studying its benefits and risks for seven months, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) approved the drug for patients, aged 12 to 45, last October.
According to reports, the research, which was done by manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur and involved 41,000 people, showed that the vaccine can reduce dengue by 60 per cent. Moreover, it is also effective at reducing severe dengue by 84 per cent.
However, it is less effective against the two dengue strains, Den 1 and Den 2, that are most common in Singapore, reported the Straits Times. According to the World Health Organisation, it provides 72 to 77 per cent protection against Den 3 and Den 4, but only 43 to 55 per cent protection against Den 1 and Den 2.
The studies also revealed that people who have had a previous dengue infection will be benefitted more from the vaccine as it will act much like a booster shot. The vaccine will also be more effective for people those aged 12 to 45 and will lose its effect in younger children and older people.
The vaccine will be administered in three doses, six months apart. Though it is expected that the vaccine will be effective four years, it is still not known for sure.
The Ministry of Health said last October that neither subsidies nor medical savings scheme, like Medisave, will be provided for the vaccine as it will not be a cost-effective means to tackle dengue infection in the nation.
More than 13,000 people were infected by dengue last year, out of which nine died and more than 2,000 ended up in the hospital.