Don’t blame me, says PAO chief

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ACOSTA: Why me?

Despite the accusing fingers blaming her for the vaccination scare gripping the populace, Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Atty. Persida Rueda Acosta reiterated her stand to stay in her office, saying she should not be blamed for the measles outbreak.

It’s an obligation of the health department. It is the one very much responsible why this outbreak happened

Acosta pointed instead to the health department for the decrease in the number of children having themselves vaccinated.

“It’s an obligation of the health department. It is the one very much responsible why this outbreak happened,” Acosta said.

The PAO head pointed out that it was a result of the Dengvaxia scare wherein 32 complaints were filed before the Department of Justice following the death of children who were given the vaccination.

She said the parents became more cautious and afraid to have their children immunized because of the Dengvaxia incident. Acosta pointed out her office is just helping the victims of the controversial vaccines so it’s not right to blame it.

Based on reports from 2014 to 2017 only 60 percent of parents and caretakers brought their children to health centers for vaccination which means that there are still 30 percent who were not immunized.

Acosta called on health department officials to stop pointing fingers and instead find solutions to the current situation.

Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano agreed, urging authorities instead to restore the Filipinos’ trust in the government’s vaccination program.

“Right now, the most important message — the only message – that we need to be hearing from everyone is to assure the mothers. Convince the mothers to have their children vaccinated,” Cayetano said during an interview in Benguet last Saturday.

She emphasized that if the authorities continue to blame each other and debate instead of focusing on the solution, a child is being declared dead.

Cayetano, who was one of the authors of Mandatory Infants and Children Immunization Act, stressed that the “general feeling of distrust” must need to end among parents on the government’s immunization program.

She cited a study by Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene showing that in 2018, only 20 percent of Filipinos agreed to the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, significantly lower than the 80 percent recorded in 2015.

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