After a recent scandal in the Philippines over a Sanofi dengue vaccine — which can worsen rather than prevent future cases in people who were not previously exposed to the mosquito-borne virus — public confidence in vaccines in general has plummeted in the country, according to a new survey.
Specifically, only 32 percent of the Philippines public strongly agreed vaccines are important, down from 93 percent in 2015. Similarly, just 21 percent strongly agreed vaccines are safe, down from 82 percent three years ago, and only 22 percent were confident that vaccines are effective, compare with 82 percent in 2015. The survey of 1,500 people was published in Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics.
And while the results cannot be easily extrapolated elsewhere, given some of the unique circumstances that occurred in the Philippines over the past year, the episode offers a cautionary note to government health officials, manufacturers, and the media about addressing unexpected concerns that may be caused by any vaccine, according to researchers, who operate the Vaccine Confidence Project.