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DOH starts dengue vaccinations today

As the Department of Health launches its school-based immunization today, it cautioned teachers and students of the possible “mild” reactions from the dengue vaccine. Philstar.com/file

MANILA, Philippines – Some public school students may faint as well as suffer rashes, headache or fever after getting an anti-dengue shot.

As the Department of Health (DOH) launches its school-based immunization today, it cautioned teachers and students of the possible “mild” reactions from the dengue vaccine.

It said in its advisory that the reactions are expected and that those getting the shots must be reminded on what they should do in such situations.

According to the DOH, fainting is common during school-based immunizations due to children’s fear of injection or because they have not eaten prior to vaccination.

To prevent these, it reminded the participating public school students to eat before taking the vaccine injections.      

“Once rashes appear, the child must be immediately taken to the nearest health facility for consultation,” the DOH said, adding that warm and cold compress should be applied to swelling on the injection site.

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The DOH said a child who will suffer from fever and headache should be kept comfortable, encouraged to drink plenty of water and take appropriate medication.

To ease children’s fears, the DOH also called on public school administrators to set up an immunization room with a comfortable waiting area.

The dengue vaccine shall be given only to Grade 4 public school students, aged at least nine years, from the National Capital Region, CALABARZON and Central Luzon.

Three doses of vaccine shall be given at six -month intervals.

The DOH will launch the dengue school-based immunization campaign today at the Parang Elementary School in Marikina.

Health Secretary Janette Garin said her department might also opt to use other dengue vaccines in future mass vaccination and is not locked to using Dengvaxia, the first dengue vaccine in the world.

“If in four or five years’ time there will be additional vaccines, that will be a good addition and a good competition to the market,” Garin noted.

The heath chief said the DOH is only interested in making dengue vaccine available to the public as soon as possible and it does not want to fan the ongoing “war” between pharmaceutical companies looking to develop dengue vaccines.

“It is a natural occurrence to have competition among them whenever a new vaccine is under development. We have decided and it is our obligation to shy away from industry-to-industry quarrels,” Garin said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier reported that there are about five more dengue vaccines under clinical development.

Garin said immunization is a good program since it benefits children and saves lives. 

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