MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) lauded the return of public trust in government immunization program especially amid the ongoing outbreak of measles infection in the country.
“Ako po’y natutuwa na ang mga magulang po ngayon mukhang nagbabago na ang kanilang pananaw patungkol po sa ating immunization program ng DOH,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Chona Palen did not hesitate to have her daughter vaccinated since the outbreak of measles was declared.
Chona said she wants to make sure her children are protected especially the youngest who is nine months old.
“Talagang nag-aalala po talaga ako sa mga anak ko kasi tatlo iyong anak ko. Itong bunso talagang gusto ko talagang pabakunahan,” she said.
Based on the latest data from DOH, measles infection in the country reached to 4,302 cases and 70 deaths from January 1 to February 9, 2019.
The highest number of infection remains in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 1,296 and 18 deaths, followed by Calabarzon with 1,086 cases and 25 deaths; Central Luzon with 481 cases and 3 deaths; Western Visayas with 212 cases and four deaths; and Northern Mindanao with 189 cases and five deaths.
Most of the patients were children aged four and below, with 66% having no vaccination history since birth.
Duque explained that health experts do not recommend measles vaccination to infants 0 to five months old.
It can only be given to children from nine months old and above, and a booster when they reach 12 to 15 months old.
“Kasi mura pa iyong kanilang immune system,” Duque said.
“Pangalawa, meron kasing maraming pag-aaral na lumalabas mayroon silang natural immunity, not really immunity but a protection —immunoglobulin (IGG). From the maternal circulation pumupunta sa bata as a protective antibody,” he added.
Duque said that the only solution when the patient is that young is to isolate the infant infected with measles.
“Iyon lang ang solution natin, isolation lang talaga kung mayroon na and let the body take care of its own,” the DOH secretary said.
The DOH assured that the country has enough supply of measles vaccine this outbreak season.
Thus, it encourages parents to bring their children to the nearest health center for immunization before its too late. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)
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