The DOH chief, who was here to inaugurate the Malasakit Center at the Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC), told reporters that the first to be vaccinated would be 2.4 million children aged six to 59 months.
KJ Rosales/File
DOH targets 12 M for measles immunization
Cesar Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2019 - 12:00am

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines — Following the recent measles outbreak, health workers are inoculating 12 million persons in several age groups.

Touted by the Department of Health (DOH) as its most aggressive vaccination program, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III yesterday said they are controlling the spread of measles, especially among children.

The DOH chief, who was here to inaugurate the Malasakit Center at the Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC), told reporters that the first to be vaccinated would be 2.4 million children aged six to 59 months.

Next to be immunized would be seven million grade school children, followed by 2.6 million adults.

Duque noted that there have been 11,459 measles cases with about 189 deaths.

“It is very lamentable that we continue to receive reports of babies dying because of failure on the part of the parents to have their children immunized with measles vaccine,” Duque said.

Former special assistant to the president Christopher Go maintained that the Malasakit Center is for persons needing assistance from different government agencies to be served under one roof.

Go noted that the center here is the 24th set up by the Duterte administration across the country.

For his part, Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Christopher de Venecia said the soon-to-be-built building at R1MC “is a sweet victory for us because it took three budget seasons in Congress for us to lobby and defend its budget.”

Japan outbreak

Several cases of measles in Japan, which is experiencing its worst outbreak in a decade, has been linked to children who came from the Philippines.

A report by The New York Times said cases recorded in Japan – which has reached 167 as of Feb. 10 – were linked to children who returned to the country from the Philippines.

Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun said three boys who entered Japan from the Philippines exhibited measles symptoms in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.

The cases in Mie Prefecture, which has the highest number of patients with 49, were triggered by an outbreak at a training workshop of a local religious group, reports said.

In Manila, the Department of Education (DepEd) said it is looking into different ways to regain the confidence of parents in immunization.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said the proposed “no vaccination, no enrollment” policy should be carefully studied.

The rights of learners, Briones added, especially their access to quality basic education, must be taken into consideration.

Aside from the policy, the DepEd has committed to work with the DOH to ensure that learners are protected from illnesses preventable by vaccines.

The DepEd committed to develop consent and evaluation forms, which will categorize learners on whether they have been vaccinated or not and coordinate with health center staff on learners who are absent and whose parents did not give consent for vaccination.

The DepEd added that it would verify school records and vaccination cards, as well as gather and share data on the number of learners affected by measles. – With Eva Visperas, Janvic Mateo

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH MEASLES VACCINATION
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