The ultimate dream of Watsons Philippines is to have its very own vaccination center inside its stores all over the country. But for now, Watsons Trading Health Director Danilo Chiong announced last Friday (March 31) that they have already added the dengue vaccine (Dengvaxia) in select Watsons stores nationwide.
DENGUE, a mosquito-borne viral infection is one of the leading causes of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics.
The Philippines in fact, is ranked 7th worldwide as a country with the highest number of dengue cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). Around 211,106 suspected dengue cases were reported last year according to the data presented by Dr. Rontgene Solante of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) during the launch.
It was noted in his presentation that there is no specific treatment for dengue. Prevention, for many years has been centered only on vector control through individual and community initiated protection. The problem with dengue is that infected individuals can become carriers of the virus so when vector control fails in a community, it is possible that an outbreak may occur again.
That’s why when the dengue vaccine was introduced and approved by the FDA here in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) launched in 2016 a massive school-based dengue immunization program on several high-risk areas targeting children age 9 years old or those in Grade 4.
The dengue vaccine or CYD-TDV is a live attenuated tetravalent vaccine that may be given to individuals 9-45 years of age living in endemic areas for the prevention of dengue illness caused by the dengue virus serotypes 1,2, 3 and 4.
It is delivered in three dosages of 0.5ml administered at 0-6 month interval. Meaning, if you’ve had your first dengue vaccination today (April 2017) your second vaccination will be on October 2017 and your final shot on April next year.
It is however not advisable to people who may have severe allergic reactions to the vaccine, those with congenital or acquired immune deficiency and pregnant or breastfeeding females.
Why Get Vaccinated for Dengue
Now, aside from the old adage that “prevention is better than cure” – the dengue vaccine is proven to be very effective. Based on WHO reports, the dengue vaccine has shown these promising results:
- 93.2% Reduction in Severe Dengue
- 80.8% Reduction in Hospitalized Dengue
- 65.6% Reduction in Symptomatic Dengue
However, the best reason for getting yourself vaccinated is probably the most unselfish thing you could do for the sake of your family and your community. Because once you have completed all the three dengue vaccine doses – you cease to be a susceptible host and carrier of the dengue virus. The dengue bus stops with you!
One dose will cost you 4,000 pesos. For all three doses and to complete the vaccine – you will need a total of 12,000 Pesos.
Now why is it that expensive?
Well according to Dr. Solante, because we’re paying for the millions of dollars incurred for the 21 years of extensive and state-of-the-art research that Sanofi has invested on the development of the vaccine.
But for those who have already experienced the dengue infection in their family, like myself, can tell you up front that 12,000 Pesos is a small price to pay compared to the thousands of pesos you’ll have to pay the hospitals for treatment and not to mention the emotional trauma experienced during the whole episode specially when it is your child who contracted the deadly virus.
Dr. Solante mentioned during the interview that there is no doubt that all Filipinos should get the dengue vaccine because we are all susceptible, but DOH has very limited budget that is why they are only targeting high risk areas and children.
He also said that the Watsons dengue vaccination program which will roll out this April is a much welcomed gesture that will really help the government in getting more people vaccinated to help stop the dengue virus here in the country once and for all!
Starting next week, Danilo Chiong said that Watsons will come out with the formal announcement of the Watsons Dengue Vaccination schedules and the 108 participating stores nationwide. One doctor will be assigned at each store from 12nn to 8pm to screen patients and administer the vaccine. The whole process will take around 3 to 5mins per patient.
The Watsons team is expecting around 120 patients to be vaccinated in each store.
A limited number of Dengue Vaccine will be made available in each participating Watsons store, that’s why during the formal announcement via various media outlets next week, they will be encouraging people to PRE-REGISTER. Pre-registered individuals will be prioritized but of course walk-ins will also be allowed – however, accommodation will only be while supplies last.
Here are the schedules:
- April 30, 2017 (1st shot)
- October 29, 2017 (2nd shot)
- April 29, 2018 (3rd shot)
- May 14, 2017 (1st shot)
- November 12, 2017 (2nd shot)
- May 13, 2018 (3rd shot)
Also, to ease up with the cost, the Dengue Vaccine may also be purchased via your BPI and BDO credit cards in a 3-month installment plan with zero interest! You may also use Sodexo or Watsons gift card to purchase.
Watsons is the first private enterprise to sponsor a nationwide dengue vaccination program in Asia and the world. Also, if the Watsons in-store Vaccination Center pushes through (pending IRR), Watsons Philippines will be the first to have it in Asia.
Aside from the Dengue Vaccine, Watsons also offers Cervical Cancer, Flu and Pneumonia vaccination at scheduled intervals throughout the year.
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