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05 Oct 2020

5th Oct 2020

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Joan Pereira
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC

Question No. 91

To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider subsidising dengue vaccines for persons who have had prior dengue infection as affordability is one of the reasons for people not vaccinating against re-infection.

Answer

1        Dengvaxia, which is currently the only licensed dengue vaccine, has been approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for the prevention of dengue in individuals age 12 to 45 years living in endemic areas.  The vaccine is not suitable for those who have not been previously infected.  The World Health Organization recommends that countries considering vaccination as part of a dengue control programme undertake pre-vaccination screening, to avoid vaccinating those who are unsuited.  If screening is not feasible, vaccination can be considered in areas with a prevalence of at least 80% by 9 years of age.

2        Singapore has a low dengue prevalence at 7% for individuals below 18 years of age.  Among adults age 18 to 74 years, the prevalence is 45%, still below the threshold for population vaccination without screening.  In view of this, the Ministry of Health’s Expert Committee on Immunisation (ECI) has advised that Dengvaxia is not an effective means to control dengue at the population level. Individuals who wish to be vaccinated should first consult their doctor on whether Dengvaxia is appropriate for them.  As such, it has not been included in the national immunisation schedules and is not eligible for government subsidy.

3        MOH will continue to monitor the development of the dengue vaccines and review regularly whether they should be included in the schedules.

4        Given the limitations of the available vaccine, vector control remains the most effective way to prevent the spread of dengue.  We advise Singaporeans to continue with the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout to remove breeding sites at home and protect themselves from mosquito bites through the use of preventive measures such as the use of insect repellents and mosquito coils.