No plan to list dengue vaccine under National Immunisation Programme

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry (MOH) will not list the recently approved conditional dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, under the National Immunisation Programme until the vaccine producer complies with the required conditions.

This means the world's first dengue vaccine will not be given free in government health facilities for now.

MOH director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said although the vaccine was registered in October last year, the ministry has also set eight conditions which vaccine producer, French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Pasteur must comply with.

"Among the conditions are post-marketing surveillance and establishing a registry of those who have been vaccinated and its side effects.

"The ministry hopes the company can comply with the conditions set, as once they comply then there would not be any issue with implementation," Noor Hisham said after officiating the Malaysian Diabetes Educators Society Conference 2017 earlier today.

He explained that the conditions were necessary in addressing some of the ministry's concerns like the adverse effects of the vaccination on those who have not had dengue before.

"Earlier research data shows that these people can get dengue shock syndrome after they are vaccinated.

"At the same time, the ministry will also be monitoring the other side effects of the vaccination," he said.

It was reported by a local daily that the Drug Control Authority (DCA) has approved the vaccine for a post-registration (phase IV) clinical study for two years involving volunteers aged nine to 45.

The study is to assess the vaccine's effectiveness and safety and it will be jointly conducted by Sanofi and MOH.

Meanwhile, Noor Hisham said that the prevalence of diabetes is expected to increase among Malaysian in the next two decades.

"According to the latest National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) released in 2015, the number of diabetes patients aged 18 and above has shown a huge increase.

"In 1996, the survey showed the prevalence of only 8.3% but in 2015, the figure increased to 17.3% — almost a two fold increase — something which is quite alarming," he said.

To make matters worse, Noor Hisham said that the 2015 survey also pointed out that almost half of the diabetes patients in Malaysia were not even aware they were afflicted with the chronic disease.