DOH appeals to public to get vaccine vs measles

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

THE Department of Health (DOH) reiterated its call for the public to have themselves vaccinated, especially for children who are below five years old.

DOH spokesperson Dr. Eric Tayag said there is no better way to avoid measles than getting vaccinated.

"Between sa isang may bakuna at wala, lamang ang merong bakuna versus measles," Tayag said in a press forum in Quezon City on Tuesday.

The DOH official's call comes amid the outbreak in measles found in various parts of Metro Manila.

These are in Quiapo, Sampaloc, Tondo, Binondo, Sta. Cruz, Port Area, and Sta. Mesa in Manila; Dagat-Dagatan and Bagong Barrio in Caloocan City; Talon 5, Talon 2, and Pamplona Uno in Las Piñas City; Longos and Tonsuya in Malabon City; Alabang and Putatan in Muntinlupa City; North Bay Boulevard South in Navotas City; Moonwalk and Don Bosco in Parañaque City; Bagong Tanyag in Taguig City; and Ugong in Valenzuela City.

Tayag, the DOH–National Epidemiology Center (NEC) head, said they will conduct house-to-house vaccinations in areas where there are declared outbreaks.

He said this will include children between six months to 59 months in a bid to protect them from the highly-contagious disease.

"Yung mga magulang sana huwag na mahiya, pabakunahan na yung mga anak nila agad," said Tayag.

Parallel to it, the DOH will also do "catch-up" vaccination in local health centers in areas with low coverage for those that failed to have their children vaccinated.

"Doon sa mga naka-miss ng bakuna, we will do catch up vaccines para mahabol yung mga kailangan ng vaccine," said Tayag.

"The DOH is embarking on a massive measles vaccination drive in the metropolis to stop the outbreak with the agency setting up meetings with the local government units (LGU) and civil society groups to plan a systematic measles vaccination drive," Dr. Anthony Leachon, vice-president of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), said in a media conference.

This coming September, the health official said the DOH will be launching its regular mass vaccination campaign nationwide as part of its effort to eliminate measles in the country.

"We are continuously making efforts to achieve the goal of eliminating measles in the country by 2017," said Tayag.

The DOH is conducting a massive vaccination campaign all over the country every three years.

Based on the latest data of the DOH office in the National Capital Region (NCR), there are now a total of 417 confirmed cases of measles recorded for the entire 2013.

Asked what could have contributed to the rise in cases in Metro Manila, Tayag said they are looking at the possibility that those coming from outside the NCR are the ones with measles.

He noted how there has been an influx of those coming from provinces in recent months, which could have included those without measles vaccination.

"Mobile yung population. Hindi sila nabakunahan sa mga lugar na pinanggalingan nila (kaya) pwede sila magkaroon ng tigdas… 'yung iba naman ay kulang din sa bakuna," said Tayag.

He, however, stressed that this does not mean that they are blaming the migrants in Metro Manila.

"Hindi natin sinisisi yung mga naapektuhan ng Yolanda. Kahit sino kasi pwede lumuwas ng Manila… pwedeng galing sa Yolanda, pwedeng galing Norte, pwedeng galing ng Mindanao," said Tayag.

During the final quarter of 2013, there has been a notable surge in migrants to Metro Manila, especially after the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda last November.

In Quezon City, the local health department has intensified its house to house campaign even if the DOH has not yet declared an outbreak in the city.

City Health chief Dr. Antonia Enumerable said that she ordered the local health personnel to intensify measures and remain cautions.

Enumerable placed her entire staff on full alert to enable local health workers immediately attend to the people's medical needs with cases of measles on the rise in other cities.

"They were ordered to give measles shots if needed," she said.

There were 139 measles cases in Quezon City last year with two deaths from the disease recorded.

Enumerable said that the two children aged seven months and one year old died of the disease because they had no measles vaccination. (HDT/with reports from Third Anne Peralta/Sunnex)

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