CORRECTED-OFFICIAL-UPDATE 1-WHO group backs Sanofi's vaccine in areas with high dengue rates
(WHO clarifies age for vaccination is 9-14 years old, not 9-11)
By Tom Miles
GENEVA, April 15 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization's expert group on immunisation said on Friday it recommended that countries consider introducing Sanofi's dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in areas where prevalence of the virus was 50 percent or higher.
Vaccination should be done between the ages of nine and 14, but efficacy improved as people got older, Jon Abramson, chairman of the WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunisation (SAGE) told a news conference in Geneva.
The vaccine needs to be administered in a three-dose series and SAGE does not recommend its use before 9-years-old, which it said was consistent with current labelling.
Dengue kills about 20,000 people per year and infects hundreds of millions, and it is becoming much more prevalent and widespread.
"The number one main recommendation is that this vaccine is efficacious and safe but should be only used in populations where the disease incidence in the population is at least 50 percent," Abramson said. "So it shouldn't be used in areas with what we would call low transmission.
"The key reason for that is when you look at the efficacy of the vaccine, in those who have not been infected the efficacy is nowhere near as good as in those who were previously infected."
Severe cases of dengue usually occur when people are infected for the second time with a different one of dengue's four serotypes, he said. Continuación...