Health centers will be open on weekends to provide immunization for children in order to control the outbreak of the disease.
“Pahahabain po natin ang oras at araw ng pagbabakuna para sa mga bata pati Sabado at Linggo. Batay po sa pag-aaral ng World Health Organization, maliban sa Dengvaxia scare, madalas sinasabi ng mga nanay wala kaming oras dahil nagtatrabaho kami, sa ngayon wala nang magiging dahilan na ganyan (We will extend the hours and days of vaccination for the children including Saturdays and Sundays. According to a study of World Health Organization, besides the Dengvaxia scare, mothers usually say we don’t have time because we work, now there’ll be excuse like that),” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during a press briefing at Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City on Saturday.
Duque explained that the Department of Health (DOH) will continue with the measles immunization campaign “until the agency reaches the saturation drive leading to birth immunity possibly in May”.
“This means majority of our population has been vaccinated kahit ang kakaunti ay hindi pa nakakapagbakuna, hindi na po makakaalpas ang measles virus at hindi na makakahawa. Corrective immunity dahil sa ngayon mababa po ang ating birth immunity, bawat isang kaso ng measles ay may katumbas na labing-walo na kanyang hahawaan (even if a few are unvaccinated, the measles virus can no longer spread and cause infection. Corrective immunity because now we have low birth immunity, every measles cases is equal to 18 persons contracting the disease),” he added.
Duque reported that there are 6,921 valid measles cases nationwide as of January 1 to February 14.
He added that the National Capital Region recorded the highest number of measles cases with 1,752 and 32 deaths; Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon with 1,653 and 36 deaths; and Central Luzon with 3,982 cases and 12 deaths.
“Mayroon pong mga pumanaw na 115 na bata at ilang nakatatanda. Ako po ay nakikiramay sa mga pamilya ng namatayan dahil sa kumplikasyon ng tigdas. Huwag natin antayin na lumubha ang kondisyon ng ating mga anak, iyong mga pumanaw dahil napabayaan po (There are 115 deaths among children and adults. I condole with the family of those who died due to complications of measles…let’s not wait for our children’s condition to worsen, those who died were caused by neglect),” he said.
In line with this, Duque once again urged the public to support the immunization program of the government against measles.
He stressed that the vaccines from DOH are free and were proven safe and effective in providing protection against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, rubella, mumps, hemophilia, tetanus and polio.
“Ano po ang gagawin natin dito kung hindi po natin papabakunahan ang ating mga anak? Tatlong beses tayo matatalo dito dahil mag-e-expire ang mga bakuna, at hindi kayo mapo-protektahan sa vaccine-preventable diseases, at pangatlo po sayang ang pondo galing sa buwis ng taong-bayan (What are we going to do ith the vaccines if we won’t have our children vaccinated? We’ll lose three times here because the vaccines will expire, and you’ll not be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases, and thirdly the funds from taxpayers will be wasted),” he said.
Duque thanked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for appealing to the public to cooperate in the measles vaccination drive.
“Nakikiusap po ang ating Pangulo sa mga nanay na dalhin po ninyo ang inyong mga anak sa mga health centers, kasama si Senator Manny Pacquiao. Maliban po sa infomercials mayroong local advocacies, mayroong ads sa TV, radio, sinehan (Our president is pleading to the mothers to bring your children to the health centers, with Senator Manny Pacquiao. Besides the infomercials, we have ads in TV, radio and cinemas) about immunization against measles,” he said.
After the press briefing, Duque led the door-to-door immunization of the children in the community.
He also checked on the status of measles patients confined at Amang Rondriguez Medical Center in Marikina City. (Ma. Teresa Montemayor/PNA)