A dengue vaccine: Will it be accepted and is it feasible? lessons from Barranquilla, Colombia, and Merida, Venezuela

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Journal Article

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Colombia; Dengue vaccines; Feasibility studies; Venezuela


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. With one vaccine on the market and others in clinical trials, policy makers in dengue endemic regions face the decision of whether to introduce a dengue vaccine in their communities. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that individualized assessments be conducted before any vaccine introduction to evaluate disease burden and the strength of current vaccination programs. This study seeks to aid in that decision-making process by examining the acceptability and feasibility of dengue vaccine introduction in Barranquilla, Colombia, and Merida, Venezuela. Surveys were administered February–June of 2018 for three groups: patients (n = 351), health professionals (n = 197), and government officials (n = 26). In Barranquilla, most respondents reported dengue to be a moderate-severe problem, that a dengue vaccine would be useful in their communities, and that their current vaccination programs could handle the addition of a new vaccine. In Venezuela, respondents were less likely to view dengue as a major concern and listed multiple barriers to not just dengue vaccine introduction, but to providing current vaccines as well. Further work is needed in Colombia to more objectively assess the country’s readiness as a whole for a future dengue vaccine. As political and social unrest continues in Venezuela, however, future initiatives should focus on trust and capacity building. This study can serve as a framework for future assessments of the acceptability and feasibility of a dengue vaccine in both targeted areas and on larger scales.

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