Leading health and beauty chain Watsons is offering dengue vaccinations in select stores nationwide, making it the first retailer in the Philippines to offer the potentially life-saving vaccine.
Hong Kong-based Watsons, in a press conference Friday at Shangri-La Makati City, said more than 200,000 cases of dengue were reported in the Philippines last year, with 1,000 of them being fatal.
Dr. Rontgene Solante of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) and Philippine College of Physicians, said as of February this year, the vaccine has been approved in 14 countries where dengue is endemic, including Singapore, Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines.
The Philippines ranks fourth among Asia-Pacific nations for the number of dengue cases with a high rate of mortality.
“That’s why 108 stores of Watsons are offering dengue vaccine as part of our commitment to improve the lives and health of the Filipinos by making health care accessible to them,” said Danilo Chiong, Watsons trading and health director.
The dengue vaccination consists of three doses and the first dose is scheduled this April.
According to a University of the Philippines National Institute of Health study, the vaccine will reduce dengue cases by over 24 percent in a span of five years. The regions with most cases of dengue cases are 3 (Central Luzon), 4 (Southern Luzon), 4A (MIMAROPA), 6 (Western Visayas) , 7 (Central Visayas), and 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN).
The three doses are administered at six-month intervals.
However, the vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women, those with HIV, severe allergies, or suffering from acute disease.
Solante said dengue vaccine is 93.2 percent effective, with mild to moderate possible after-effects of headache and pain.
Watson is offering dengue vaccination at P4,000 per dose. Credit card holders of BDO and BPI can avail of P1,400 three-month installment at zero interest.
Other vaccines being offered Watson are against cervical cancer, pneumonia, and hepatitis.
Free dengue vaccination in the Philippines was launched by the Health Department and the Education Department in April last year, with about one million Grade 4 pupils aged 9 years old and above receiving the treatment.