Dengue fever often hits tropical climates, such as Indonesia. The high number of dengue cases makes many researchers try to develop the most effective vaccine to prevent this disease. However, the dengue fever vaccine still has some disadvantages.
Dengue fever (DHF) is a disease caused by dengue virus infection, this disease is transmitted through mosquito bites. Usually, dengue fever occurs during the rainy season. This is because high rainfall allows the mosquitoes to breed well.
DHF has several symptoms, such as high fever, a rash on the skin, bone or muscle pain, and headache in the back of the eye. In severe cases, bleeding can also be life-threatening. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that around 20,000 people die each year from dengue fever.
Get to know Dengue Fever Vaccine
The dengue fever vaccine that is available is the CYD-TDV vaccine (Dengvaxia). This vaccine contains a weakened tetravalent dengue virus. Tetravalent here means that the vaccine can form immunity against the four types of circulating dengue virus, namely dengue virus serotype 1 – 4. This vaccine has obtained distribution permits in some dengue fever endemic countries, and is usually given three times with the time interval between injections is four to six months.
Effectiveness and Conditions for Giving Dengue Fever Vaccine
Before deciding to give a dengue fever vaccine to prevent dengue disease, there are a number of things related to the dengue fever vaccine that you need to know:
1. Safer for children over 9 years and adults
Data from several clinical studies have shown a reduced risk of severe dengue fever (requiring hospitalization) in children over the age of nine who were given the vaccine. But if the dengue vaccine is given to children under the age of nine, it can increase the risk of developing severe dengue fever.
Therefore, the dengue fever vaccine is only recommended for people between the ages of 9 – 45 years.
2. Only effective in certain groups
The dengue fever vaccine is proven to be safe and quite effective for people who have had a previous dengue virus infection. But, it actually increases the risk of dengue fever in people who have never been infected with the dengue virus.
Therefore, WHO recommends that countries that want to use this vaccine must have an accurate screening system or early detection of dengue infection. This is to avoid people who have never been infected with the dengue fever virus and get vaccinated.
But in reality, it is not easy to ascertain whether someone has previously been exposed to dengue fever or not. This is because dengue fever sometimes does not show typical, or even asymptomatic symptoms, so someone does not necessarily know whether he has been infected with the dengue fever virus or not.
3. Does not provide full prevention
The dengue fever vaccine does provide good protection for those who have been exposed to dengue before. However, this protection is not total. In some cases, people who have had dengue fever can still experience it again, even though they have received the vaccine.
4. Price is expensive
In Indonesia, dengue fever vaccines include vaccines that are still new. The price range of this vaccine is quite expensive, which is around 1 million for each injection dose (the recommended dose of dengue fever vaccine is three times the injection).
Therefore, you need to prepare a high enough fee to get this vaccine. Moreover, the availability of dengue fever vaccines is still limited, and can only be obtained in hospitals or private pediatricians.
The currently available dengue fever vaccine can reduce the risk of dengue virus infection in countries with high rates of dengue fever. But, this can only be achieved if the vaccine is used correctly.
Giving the dengue fever vaccine is only recommended when the benefits are believed to be greater than the risk. Therefore, you need to consult a doctor first if you want to get dengue vaccination, to ensure that you are suitable to receive the vaccine.
Another thing you need to remember is that efforts to eradicate mosquito nests and prevent mosquito bites are still the main steps to prevent dengue fever. Vaccination alone without these efforts will not be effective in preventing dengue fever.
Use closed clothing if in an area with lots of mosquitoes, or use a mosquito repellent lotion. Also make sure to routinely drain containers filled with water and dry puddles in your home environment so that mosquitoes do not nest.