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Dengue Vaccine: What You Need to Know
Why get vaccinated?
Dengue vaccine can help protect against dengue in people who have had dengue in the past.
Dengue is caused by one of four viruses spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. A person can get infected by any of the four dengue viruses. Infection with one dengue virus does not protect against infection with the other three viruses. Each year, up to 400 million people are infected with dengue. Almost half of the world's population lives in areas with a risk of dengue.
Most people infected with dengue have no symptoms or experience mild disease.
Some people who get sick with dengue have sudden onset of fever with nausea, vomiting, a rash, and eye, muscle, joint, or bone aches and pains.
A smaller number of people with dengue will have severe disease. Severe dengue is a medical emergency, requiring immediate medical attention at a hospital. Hospitalization with dengue is most common in older children and adolescents. Warning signs of severe dengue begin 12 to 24 hours after fever goes away and include stomach pain and tenderness, vomiting, bleeding from the nose or gums, blood in vomit or stool, and extreme tiredness or restlessness.
Rarely, dengue can have serious effects on the liver, heart, central nervous system, kidneys, eyes, muscles, or bone marrow. Severe dengue can also lead to death.
Dengue vaccine is recommended for children 9 through 16 years old who
- Have a history of dengue infection in the past confirmed by a laboratory test
- Live in an area where dengue is common, including the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and freely associated states including the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau
Dengue vaccine is NOT recommended for travelers.
To receive the vaccine, your child must have had dengue in the past, confirmed by blood testing. The vaccine could increase the risk of severe dengue and hospitalization in children who have not had dengue before if they are infected with dengue after vaccination.
Children need 3 doses of the dengue vaccine. The second dose should be given 6 months after the first dose, the third dose 6 months after the second dose.
Dengue vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Talk with your health care provider
Tell your vaccination provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of dengue vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies
- Has a weakened immune system
If the person getting the vaccine is pregnant or breastfeeding, they should discuss benefits and potential risks of dengue vaccination with their health care provider.
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone dengue vaccination until a future visit.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting dengue vaccine.
Your health care provider can give you more information.
Risks of a vaccine reaction
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot is given, tiredness or weakness, fever, headache, fatigue, or muscle pain can happen after dengue vaccination.
If a person who has never had dengue in the past gets dengue vaccine, they are at increased risk of severe disease if they become infected with dengue in the future.
People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
What if there is a serious problem?
An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call 9-1-1 and get the person to the nearest hospital.
For other signs that concern you, call your health care provider.
Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your health care provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the VAERS website at www.vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS staff members do not give medical advice.
How can I learn more?
- Ask your health care provider.
- Call your local or state health department.
- Visit the website of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for vaccine package inserts and additional information at www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines.
- Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or
- Visit CDC's website at www.cdc.gov/dengue.
Vaccine Information Statement
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many vaccine information statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis
Hojas de información sobre vacunas están disponibles en español y en muchos otros idiomas. Visite www.immunize.org/vis
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