A face-to-face survey of 158 policymakers and other influential professionals was conducted in eight dengue-endemic countries in Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam) and Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua) to provide an indication of the potential demand for dengue vaccination in endemic countries, and to anticipate their research and other requirements in order to make decisions about the introduction of dengue vaccines. The study took place in anticipation of the licensure of the first dengue vaccine in the next several years.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted on an individual or small group basis with government health officials, research scientists, medical association officers, vaccine producers, local-level health authorities, and others considered to have a role in influencing decisions about dengue control and vaccines. Most informants across countries considered dengue a priority disease and expressed interest in the public sector use of dengue vaccines, with a major driver being the political pressure from the public and the medical community to control the disease. There was interest in a vaccine that protects children as young as possible and that can fit into existing childhood immunization schedules. Dengue vaccination in most countries surveyed will likely be targeted to high-risk areas and begin with routine immunization of infants and young children, followed by catch-up campaigns for older age groups, as funding permits. Key data requirements for decision-making were additional local dengue surveillance data, vaccine cost-effectiveness estimates, post-marketing safety surveillance data and, in some countries vaccine safety and immunogenicity data in the local population.
The lookout for the public sector use of dengue vaccines in the eight countries appears quite favorable. Major determinants of whether and when countries will introduce dengue vaccines include whether WHO recommends the vaccines, their price, the availability of external financing for lower income countries, and whether they can be incorporated into countries' routine immunization schedules.