By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista appealed to local residents to have their children aged six months to five years old vaccinated for measles at the nearest health center in their area before it’s too late.
He warned the public of the possibility of a much graver repercussion if their children are not vaccinated, reminding them of the measles outbreak the Department of Health (DOH) had earlier announced.
“Measles vaccine is safe and free in all health centers and public hospitals,” Bautista said.
Bautista assured that he will continuously confer with city health officials to assess the measles situation vowing to conduct a more massive information drive to entice more parents to have their children vaccinated.
Health officials noted that the low public trust on immunization was caused by the recent controversy surrounding the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia which was believed to have resulted in the death of several children who were vaccinated by this drug.
The Quezon City Health Department has mobilized its corps of community health workers to actively look for fever cases among children to ensure that they will be accorded with the appropriate medical services in the city’s health centers to avoid serious implications.
City Health Officer Dr. Verdades Linga said the City Health Department has already taken steps to arrest the increase in measles cases even before the declaration of an outbreak last Wednesday.
“We received reports of increasing measles cases as early as the second week of January that’s why we immediately activated our Outbreak Response Immunization plan wherein immunization teams were sent out to administer vaccines to children age six months to five years old,” she said.
From January 1 to 26, a total of 108 cases of measles with eight deaths were reported to the QC Health Department.
The most affected age group were one to four-years-old.
As of February 1, the QC Health Department managed to vaccinate a total of 965 children.
The QC Health Department is likewise tracing “active defaulters” or children who have missed their scheduled measles immunization.
Linga also called on the parents of children who are already showing symptoms of flu and fever to immediately bring their children to the nearest health center for a check-up.
“Bukas ang lahat ng health centers magpunta lang sila. If there are symptoms of measles, dalhin sa pinakamalapit na health center (All the health centers in the city are ready to accommodate the public. All they have to do is just have their children checked. If there are symptoms of measles please bring them to the health center),” Linga said.