HSA approves world's first dengue vaccine for use in Singapore
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has approved the world's first dengue vaccine for use in Singapore following a seven-month expedited review of the potential benefits and risks.
It will be made commercially available in several months' time.
Studies have shown that overall, the vaccine is effective at reducing dengue by 60 per cent, and reducing severe dengue by 84 per cent.
However, it is much less effective against the two dengue strains most common in Singapore.
The HSA's decision to approve the vaccine was based on 24 clinical studies carried out by Sanofi Pasteur - the company manufacturing the vaccine - which involved 41,000 people.
The vaccine is approved for use in anyone aged 12 to 45 years, as studies showed that the risk of hospitalisation from dengue was reduced in those above 12 years old but also showed that the vaccine was not very effective in those aged above 45.
The HSA said it is prepared to revise its age guidelines when more data is available.
Importantly, the vaccine was also 81 per cent effective in people who had already had a dengue infection previously, compared to 38 per cent in those who had never had the virus.
Younger children who had never had dengue also ran a higher risk of hospitalisation if they contracted the virus after being vaccinated, although this was not seen in older children.
The HSA therefore advises those who have not had dengue to speak with their doctors on whether or not they should get the vaccine.
The vaccine was launched late in 2015 and is currently approved for use in nine other countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines.