They must not be deprived of the opportunity to be protected from diseases, according to the Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas. "Let's have them inoculated before the outbreak of measles worsens", Sen.
While the government has made a concerted effort to eradicate the disease, parents' fear over a recent dengue fever vaccine have caused immunization rates to drop, Vice President Leni Robredo said. "Why deprive them of protection just because of a controversy involving one vaccine?"
Convocar stressed the importance of "inter-sectoral collaboration" for the correct dissemination of information on the benefits of immunization on children. "Fast lanes" and vaccination of health personnel who will be handling measles patients are also being proposed during a press briefing held on Friday (Feb. 8, 2019).
It encouraged local leaders to intensify immunization activities and health workers to ensure that vaccines are available to children in every community.
Another shot should be administered at 9 months old and the last shot by 12 months old.
DOH earlier declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila following the 550 percent increase in patients contracting the virus from January 1 to February 6 this year compared with the same period last year.
Laboratory analysis is ongoing for the other suspected cases, said Convocar. The same report indicated 70 cases with no deaths in Mimaropa (Region IV-B); 64 cases with two deaths in the Ilocos Region (Region I); 60 cases with no deaths in Northern Mindanao (Region X); 54 cases with one death in Western Visayas (Region VIII); and 43 cases with no deaths in Soccsksargen (Region XII.) Measles killed 30 in the first eight months of previous year, and five in all of 2017. These were from Sibalom, Antique and Escalante and Talisay cities in Negros Occidental.
The CDC reminds the public that measles is highly contagious and vaccination remains the best way to prevent infection.
The virus is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. A red rash appears on the face and body a few days later. "We are now looking at big outbreak and hundreds, even thousands, are expected to die every year if this trend continues", she said, urging parents to vaccinate their children.
For Grade 7 pupils, the coverage was higher at 58 percent or 97,500 children out of the 169,220 target.
"We are very concerned [about] the situation because there are many cases of measles that ... could have been avoided if we had achieved higher vaccination coverage", Weiler said.