Watsons, the leading health & beauty chain in the Philippines, today announced the availability of dengue vaccination (Dengvaxia) in select Watsons stores nationwide.
The dengue vaccination was launched in the country by the Department of Health (DOH) together with the Department of Education (DepEd), and later on was made available in medical clinics last year. Now, Watsons is the first retailer to offer it in the Philippine market.
“As part of our commitment to improve the lives and health of Filipinos by making health care more accessible to them, we decided to offer dengue vaccination in our select stores nationwide. Dengue is a recurring epidemic in the country, that’s why we recognize the importance of protecting Filipinos against this deadly disease through the vaccination”, says Watsons Trading Health Director, Mr. Danilo Chiong.
The first vaccine against dengue, Dengvaxia, was created by leading multinational pharmaceutical company and an expert in the development of vaccinations, Sanofi Pasteur. The vaccine took more than twenty years to develop and has been thoroughly tested, based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Studies of the vaccine included more than 41,000 people and were carried out in 15 countries including the Philippines. The results were fully reviewed by a committee of independent experts and has also been recommended by WHO.
In the Philippines, the DOH together with DepEd launched the much-awaited administration of the dengue vaccine through school-based immunization approach. This aims to vaccinate about one million Grade 4 pupils aged 9 years old and above enrolled in public schools in several regions of the country.
As of February 2017, the vaccine has been approved in 14 countries where dengue is endemic including Singapore, Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines.
The dengue vaccine has also gotten the endorsement of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) and Philippine College of Physicians (PCP).
According to a study by the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health, the vaccine is expected to reduce dengue cases in the country by over 24 percent in a span of five years.
There are more than 200,000 reported dengue cases in the country in 2016 with around 1000 reported cases leading to death.
Besides the health risks, dengue also has an impact on public health costing billions of pesos of tax payers money with treatment costing tens of thousands in pesos per patient.
The dengue vaccination, to be taken in three doses at 0 – 6 – 12 months interval, can protect the individual from all four strains of the dengue virus. This can be administered to people aged 9 to 45 years old.
The dengue vaccination is the latest addition to the vaccines offered by Watsons. It will cost P4,000 per dose or P12,000 for all 3 doses, which is a reasonable price given the high incidence of dengue and high cost of treatment in the Philippines.
“Watsons also offer Cervical Cancer, Flu and Pneumonia vaccination at scheduled intervals throughout the year. We will have a doctor in store during vaccination dates to administer the vaccination”, adds Mr. Chiong.
The first scheduled dengue vaccination will be on April 30, 2017 (1st dose), October 29, 2017 (2nd dose) and April 29, 2018 (3rd dose); second scheduled dengue vacation will be on May 14, 2017 (1st dose), November 12, 2017 (2nd dose), May 13, 2018 (3rd dose). This will be available in more than 100 stores nationwide.