Dengue vaccine deemed acceptable by most doctors, fewer parents



Adults are interested in a dengue vaccine for themselves and their children, and physicians recognize that dengue is a public health problem, according to data from parents and physicians in Puerto Rico. Most doctors, but fewer parents, found the idea of protecting children with Dengue vaccine acceptable.

Closeup of vaccines and a needle itsmejust/Thinkstock

Lack of detailed information about the vaccine is the greatest barrier to parents’ consent to vaccination, noted Ines Esquilin, MD, of the University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, in a presentation at the February meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

The ACIP dengue vaccines work group reviewed data from 102 physicians in Puerto Rico, 82% of which were pediatricians, regarding potential dengue vaccination. Overall, 98% said they considered dengue a significant public health problem in Puerto Rico, and 73% said they would recommend the dengue vaccine to patients if a laboratory test with acceptable specificity were available. Among the physicians who said they would not recommend the vaccine, the most common reason (71%) was concern about the risks of vaccinating individuals with false-positive tests.

The availability of a test that can be performed in the medical office and avoid repeat visits is a major factor in the feasibility of dengue vaccination, Dr. Esquilin said.

The ACIP dengue vaccines work group also sought public opinion on the acceptability of a generic dengue vaccine through focus group sessions with parents of children aged 9-16 years in Puerto Rico, said Dr. Esquilin.

Approximately one-third of the parents said they were willing to vaccinate their children, one-third were unwilling, and one-third were unsure. The most commonly identified barriers to vaccination included lack of information or inconsistent information about the vaccine, high cost/lack of insurance coverage, time-consuming lab test to confirm infection, side effects, potential for false-positive lab results, and low vaccine effectiveness.

Motivating factors for vaccination included correct information about the vaccine, desire to prevent infection, lab-confirmed positive test, support from public health organizations, the presence of a dengue epidemic, and educational forums.

Based in part on these findings, the ACIP dengue vaccines work group noted that the need for an acceptably specific screening lab test is the greatest concern in their consideration of recommendations, and the work group expects to review a CDC assessment of laboratory tests for prevaccination screening at a future meeting.

Dr. Esquilin had no financial conflicts to disclose.

SOURCE: Esquilin E. 2020. February meeting of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) presentation.

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