Vaccinate children against measles — UNICEF urges parents

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"Hindi naman siguro kelangan 'yan [Mandatory immunization] may not be necessary. I think baka ma-question pa 'yan sa korte somehow", Nograles said during a news conference in Malacañang when asked about the possibility of a mandatory vaccination program.

He recognized the important role of the local government units in terms of "action" and "accountability" in implementing the vaccination program in the communities.

Nograles added that President Rodrigo Duterte had directed the Department of Health (DoH) to boost communication efforts on the importance of vaccination with the active involvement of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

Measles cases in the city rose by 550 percent from January 1 to February 6, 2019 compared to the same period a year ago, he added.

On Thursday, Dr Duque declared that there was also an outbreak in central and southern Luzon and in central and western Visayas.

As of January 26, the DOH Epidemiology Bureau reported that the number of measles cases in other regions, including in the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley province, in Central Luzon, Calabarzon region, Mimaropa region, and the Bicol region, have shown an increasing trend.

In 2018, the vaccinations also reached only 60 percent at the height of the dengvaxia scare which Corpin attributes to the rapid rise of measles cases on the same year which reached 28 cases in Cebu City.

According to the Department of Health, the number of unvaccinated children has risen by over 100,000 in the previous year.

No deaths were reported in the 155 reported cases reported among adults between the ages of 19 and 41.

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"Measles vaccine is safe and free in all health centers and public hospitals", Bautista said.

In a statement, UNICEF said the reported deaths of children from the vaccine-preventable disease are "unacceptable".

For her part, Dr. Renilyn Reyes, medical officer IV of DOH Region 6, said the World Health Organization recommends two shots of the measles vaccine for children to achieve "95 percent protection".

Some parents became hesitant to have their children immunized due to misinformation or "fake news" about vaccines triggered by the controversial anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, lamented Convocar.

Measles, caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract, can be passed through direct contact and through the air. Among its complications include diarrhea, infection of the lung and ear, encephalitis, malnutrition, and blindness which may lead to death.

The Philippines on Wednesday declared a measles outbreak in the capital city of Manila.

As of February 1, the QC Health Department managed to vaccinate a total of 965 children.

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.

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