We thank Professor Tikki Pang for his letter (Consider selective use of Dengvaxia vaccine for seniors, May 19).
Singapore is currently facing a serious dengue situation. The key strategy for dengue prevention at this point is vector control to suppress the Aedes mosquito population.
Everyone has an important role to play in the prevention and removal of mosquito breeding habitats. For personal protection, individuals can protect themselves from mosquito bites through the use of preventive measures, such as insect repellents, or consider receiving the dengue vaccine.
Dengvaxia, which is the only licensed dengue vaccine in Singapore, is approved by the Health Sciences Authority for the prevention of dengue in individuals aged 12 to 45 years who have had prior dengue infection.
The vaccine is not suitable for those who have not been infected with dengue. With relatively low dengue prevalence among the population in Singapore, Dengvaxia is therefore not an effective means to prevent and control dengue at the population level, and it is not recommended under the national immunisation schedules.
However, Dengvaxia can be useful for individual protection for those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Individuals in the age range who have not been infected with dengue and are keen to be vaccinated are advised to first consult their doctor as to whether Dengvaxia is appropriate for them.
The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the development of dengue vaccines and regularly review their potential as part of a multi-pronged approach to dengue control in Singapore.
We advise residents to continue practising the Mozzie Wipeout “B-L-O-C-K” steps to prevent mosquito breeding and “S-A-W” steps for those living and working in dengue cluster areas for personal protection.
More information can be found at www.cgs.gov.sg/blockdengue/home
Derrick Heng (Professor)
Deputy Director of Medical Services (Public Health Group)
Ministry of Health
Chew Ming Fai
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Director-General of Public Health
National Environment Agency