By Analou De Vera
The Department of Health (DOH) launched Tuesday the ‘National Ligtas Tigdas Supplemental Immunization Activity’ to prevent measles outbreak in the country.
Based on the data of DOH-Epidemiology Bureau, there were 5,450 measles cases that were recorded nationwide as of Jan. 1 to April 14, 2018. The DOH said 905 were confirmed cases while a total of 15 deaths have also been recorded so far.
“The pockets of measles outbreaks started in the last quarter of 2017 and continue up to present. Outbreak Response Immunization activities were conducted but despite ongoing outbreak response immunizations in affected areas in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mindanao, measles transmission continued,” the DOH stated.
Vaccine-preventable diseases like measles “can be potentially harmful and really affect to the well-being of our children and of our people in general,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during the campaign’s launched in Parañaque City yesterday.
The DOH will hold the supplemental measles immunization drive in Metro Manila until May 24.
The same program will also be held in Mindanao from May 9 to June 8.
“As we launch the Ligtas Tigdas campaign here in the Metro Manila, we hope to reach all parents/ caregivers and guardians emphasizing the life-saving benefits of measles vaccination. We call all parents/ caregivers to allow their children ages six to 59 months to be vaccinated,” said Duque.
Duque also admitted that the Dengvaxia controversy has “tainted” the other immunization programs of the health department. He once again assured that the measles immunization program was already proven safe and effective.
“I would like to reiterate to the public, especially to the parents/guardians, that the measles vaccine is safe and we have been doing this since the 1970s. Measles vaccination has saved millions of lives. Let us all protect the health of all Filipino children through vaccination against measles,” the health chief said.