By Jan Carlo Anolin
The Department of Health’s (DOH) measles immunization program has been receiving good reception, specifically for children aged six months to five years old.
This was disclosed by DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, who said, in an interview on CNN Philippines, that measles vaccination among the first cohort, or children with the age bracket of six months to 59 months, or around five years old, has reached 98 percent in just about five months.
The data gathered was from the Department of Health’s (DOH) declaration of measles outbreak on February 6 until the last week of June.
Cohort refers to the certain bracket or categorization of their target individuals.
“[T]he challenge is how do you translate the fear into a longer lasting trust and confidence which is already starting,” Duque said.
Citing results from a survey conducted by the Philippines Survey and Research Center last May, Duque said 91 percent of respondents agreed that vaccines were important and of quality, and 89 percent said vaccines were safe.
This was good news compared to the loss of trust and confidence of people in vaccines last year, which was pegged at 32 percent mark, he noted.
In 2018, Duque said only 30 percent of the population in the first cohort availed of the DOH’s free measles vaccination program.
The DOH chief attributed the rise in the number of those who availed of the free vaccines on the recent declaration of a measles outbreak.
The health department continues to conduct supplemental immunization activity alongside outbreak response immunization in different parts of Metro Manila such as Taguig, Manila, Quezon City, and Pasig.
Around 9.9 million are being targeted by the DOH for its program for the second cohort, or the school-based cluster from kinder to Grade 7 students.
Aside from the measles vaccination, the health department also provides vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus hepatitis B, pneumonia, tuberculosis, mumps, and papilloma in their immunization program.