Vaccination will not be
rushed through – Health Ministry
The dengue vaccines currently on trial in Sri Lanka will not be introduced to
the national immunization program, Director General Health Services, Dr. P.G.
Mahipala told the Sunday Observer.
“We have vaccines from three manufacturers which are being tested at present at
the Epidemiology Unit.
“All of them are going through an evaluation process.
“They will not be released to the public until we are hundred percent certain
there are no risks to those to whom they are administered,” he said.
The Sunday Observer’s efforts to contact the staff of the Epidemiology Unit for
more details on Saturday, proved futile, with a very senior Epidemiologist
pleading ignorance on the subject and hurriedly putting down the phone when we
managed to track him down.. Unnamed health sources who were more forthcoming,
however, said the vaccines under trial are allegedly from the Philippines, Japan
and from the pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Smythe in the US. Denying rumours they
had been approved for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO), health
officials reiterated that more time was needed to assure they were hundred
percent safe and efficient. Asked if the vaccines could give a life-time
immunity against dengue fever (DF) including the more serious complications of
dengue such as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) and Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS),
a dengue specialist said, “It was unlikely as long as the dengue carrying
mosquito continued to proliferate in new breeding sites islandwide and re-infect
those who have been immunized.”