The Department of Health Authorities in Region 7 has recognized that the measles immunization program in the four Cebu, Siquijor, Bohol and Negros Oriental provinces has been challenged by the controversy of the Dengvaxia vaccine in Manila that has created a false phobia among the rural mother.
The Department of Health noted: NO DENGVAXIA VACCINE arrived at Negros Oriental and the other Visayas provinces, so there are no dangerous effects in our area.
This false false has grown so much that even the measles vaccine series is affected and low because of the vaccinated public refusal.
"We have a big problem with our immunization program because of Dengvaxia's controversy last year, so we need media support to inform our population about the information dissemination that the measles vaccine is safe, powerful and effective over three decades ago with no reports of serious side effects, says Dr. Socrates Villamor of the DOH province unit in a press briefing.
Provincial Health Assistant Dr. Liland Estacción also revealed that in Negros Oriental there is an increasing number of cases of measles from the last trimester of 2017, DOH performs additional immunization activity (SIA) or Ligtas Tigdas Plus across the region and across the country, this time from October 22 to November 23 this month.
Wild birds or "tipdas" in the vernacular language are an extremely infectious disease that can infect 18-20 people in one day only from one person.
The target population for measles immunization activity is children aged 6 months to 59 months and another dose for oral polio vaccine for children up to one year of age to counteract the spread of the virus.
The provincial health care assistant professor, Dr. Liland Estacion, reported that on 3 November 2018 the province had a total of 169 cases of measles deaths compared to only 12 cases from the same period last year or an increase of 1,308% from one year to 44 years.
Topping the list is Dumaguete City with 47 measles cases, followed by Bacong with 28 cases, Sibulan 18, Bayawan 11, Siaton 10, Sta. Catalina 6, Ayungon and Tanjay City with 5 cases each, Bais, Mabinay, Pamplona, San Jose and Tayasan, 4 cases each, Amlan, Dauin, LaLibertad 3 cases each, Jimalalud, Valencia and Vallehermoso 2 cases ruby in each case while Bindoy, Canlaon City, Manjuyod and Zamboanguita, each with a measly case.
According to DOH parameters, even with one confirmed measles case, a measles focal point is declared.
A low participation was recorded on the number of children immunized with measles vaccine at the end of last year because of the controversy and perhaps because the immunization was selective only for those who vaccinated, according to Dr. Estacion.
At one time, out of 90 children targeting a public school in Negros Oriental, a single parent signed a consent for his child to receive a measles vaccine. The same applies to other schools during the school-based immunization program.
In the province of Siquijor, provincial health officer, Ms. Daisy Boac, reported a total of 47 cases of measles during January-October this year. She said that additional immunization was carried out on 22 October this year so far in 12 barges in Siquijor and in a barangay in the city of Maria.
For Dumaguete, City Health Officer Dr. Ma. Sarah Talla said about 47 cases of measles in the city, only 30 were confirmed, the youngest victim is five months old, and the youngest of 39 months and 19 adults.
Immunization activity takes place in 16 baranganes in the city, where measles cases prevail, and thus 1,065 children or about 11.2% of the target population were immunized.
Dr. Jeanette Pauline Cortes, DOH Medical Director IV, explained that measles and polio vaccines used in the country are the same vaccines used in other countries around the world since the 1970s to nearly four decades now, proven to be very effective and safe without reported complications.
She also said that even though the Philippines is declared as polio-free since 2000, the risk is still there, because other countries are not, and so the risk is eminent and the only way to prevent it is by immunization.
Dr. Cortes revealed that measles itself can be healed, but when it gets complicated, it will lead to death because of pneumonia, brain and ear infection, and the only way to protect it is by immunization.
She pleads for mothers to protect their children against measles and polio by bringing them to fixed sites for immunization in those areas because a case can infect 18-20 people a day. If nothing is done, it will be the worst scenario before us.jrg