DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Health authorities on Thursday, January 25, assured parents that the anti-measles vaccine is safe unlike the controversial dengue-vaccine, Dengvaxia.
This, following the reports where some parents fear and refuse to have their kids vaccinated against measles, pointing that it might harm their children.
“We understand that there is really fear especially with the mothers. However, our measles-containing vaccine has been used for generations already and it’s really proven safe and effective,” Yasmin Avila, health education and promotion officer of the Department of Health (DOH 11) told reporters during the I-Speak media forum held at the City Hall here.
The City Health Office (CHO) declared on Monday, January 22, a measles outbreak due to the sudden increase of reported cases of measles in the city in just a span of three months.
But even with the outbreak, health workers here still face the challenge of convincing the parents to participate in the government’s fight against measles.
“The vaccines we are using are really accurate. It’s been approved by DOH, by WHO (World Health Organization) and we’ve been giving them to children for a long long time already. They should not be afraid,” Josephine Villafuerte, head of CHO said in a radio interview on Tuesday, January 23.
Based on the CHO data presented by Villafuerte, a total of 252 reported cases of measles and 11 suspected deaths due to measles were recorded from November 7, 2017 to January 23 this year.
The same data revealed that of the 252 reported cases, 16 were confirmed and tested positive for measles while the rest are considered “suspect cases” in which a person develops symptoms such as high fever, rash, cough, cold, conjunctivitis and others.
CHO record showed that majority of the cases is from the age groups of one year old to four years old and less than nine-month-old babies.
However, Villafuerte clarified that the figures does not just include residents from Davao City but as well as people from neighboring areas that went to health centers or hospitals here.
Villafuerte said the best way to prevent the further spread of the said highly contagious viral disease among children is for them to be immunized particularly children aged six to 59 months.
The CHO has been doing the various measures such as the conduct of service-free outbreak response immunization (ORI) – fixed site, house-to-house and health center measles immunization, increase education campaign on measles awareness and others to ensure safety and protection among children.
“With the declaration of the outbreak of measles, we understand that most parents and guardians are worried so our main message is we can really prevent measles and the best prevention is immunization,” Avila said.
Avila also emphasized the need to complete the immunization process for children to effectively prevent the virus.
“One vaccine is not enough. Under the ORI, our measles immunization includes two vaccines and they should be able to complete it,” she added.
CHO is targeting to immunize 151,468 children in the city and as of January 23, 2018, a total of 55,021 or 36.33% were already vaccinated.
Villafuerte also urged all health centers, private practitioners, barangay officials and stakeholders to report to CHO every measles case in the city to ensure early detection and management of cases. (davaotoday.com)