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Talking to Parents About Dengvaxia Vaccine

Main Discussion Point

Your patients can get dengue up to four times in their life. The second infection is the most likely to cause severe illness, although any dengue infection can be life-threatening. To prevent severe illness with dengue, encourage parents of children who are 9–16 years old to have their children screened for previous dengue infection and to get them vaccinated with the dengue vaccine if eligible.

Topic: What is Dengvaxia?

Key Points

  • Dengvaxia is a vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that works against all four types of dengue virus.
  • The vaccine was approved for use in children 9–16 years old who have previously had a dengue infection and live in areas where dengue occurs frequently or continuously (endemic).

Topic: Why Vaccinating Children Is Important

Key Points

  • Dengue is caused by any of the four dengue virus types: dengue 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  • A person’s second dengue infection is most likely to lead to severe illness. However, any infection can cause severe illness and can be life threatening.
  • The dengue vaccine prevents about 80% of dengue illnesses, hospitalizations, and severe disease in children with previous dengue infection.

Topic: Children Who Are Eligible for Vaccination

Key Points

  • Children 9–16 years old who have previously had dengue and live in areas where dengue is endemic are eligible for vaccination.
  • Children can have a dengue virus infection without any symptoms, so testing is necessary to see if they have had dengue in the past.
  • Only children who have laboratory-confirmed evidence of a previous dengue virus infection are eligible for the Dengvaxia vaccine.

Topic: Laboratory Confirmation of a Previous Dengue Infection Is Required Before Vaccination

Key Points

  • Laboratory-confirmed evidence of a previous dengue virus infection is required to be eligible for vaccination with Dengvaxia.
  • Testing before vaccination will confirm if your patient has had dengue before.
    • If the test results are positive, your patient can be vaccinated.
    • If the test results are negative, your patient won’t be able to get vaccinated.

Why testing is important

  • In a child who has not already been infected with dengue, Dengvaxia increases the risk of hospitalization and severe illness if the child gets dengue after vaccination.

Pre-vaccination screening tests

  • Pre-vaccination screening tests are required to be highly specific to minimize the number of false-positive test results that could lead to unintentionally vaccinating a child who has never had dengue.

Topic: The Dengvaxia Vaccine Is Safe and Effective

Key Points

  • Scientists, physicians, and public health professionals specializing in dengue virus and vaccines have reviewed all the data and recommend this vaccine for preventing dengue in children who have previously had dengue.

Possible side effects after vaccination

  • Not everyone will experience side effects after vaccination.
  • If side effects occur, they should go away within a few days.
  • The most frequent and continuous side effects occur within the first 14 days following vaccination and can include
    • Soreness, itchiness, or pain in the injection site
    • Headaches
    • Lack of energy
    • General discomfort

Topic: Remind Parents to Schedule Follow-up Vaccinations

Key Points

  • Three doses of the vaccine are required.
  • Each dose is given 6 months apart.
  • Let parents know that if their child misses a vaccine dose, they can consult with you to schedule the missed vaccination.
  • Remind parents to schedule follow-up vaccinations when they are in your clinic. If your clinic has an appointment reminder system, ask parents to sign up when they schedule their child’s follow-up appointments.

Topic: About Dengue

Key Points

  • Dengue is a disease caused by any of the four dengue virus types: dengue 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  • People get dengue from the bite of an infected mosquito.
  • There is no specific medicine to treat dengue. Mild symptoms can be treated at home. Severe dengue requires treatment at the hospital. Learn more about the clinical presentation.
  • Dengue is endemic in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and in the freely associated states of Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palau.