Citing recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) ranking the Philippines No. 3 with highest incidence of measles, Sen. Richard Gordon yesterday stressed the need for the public to bring back their trust the government vaccination program.
Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), blamed the Dengvaxia menace to the public’s lost of confidence to the government’s Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) during the past years.
The senator, however, stressed that measles is controllable through vaccines and that Filipinos should not risk the lives of their children by not availing of the government program.
“People should not forgo immunization because it is a proven tool for controlling and even eradicating infectious diseases. It is a very necessary and effective public health intervention,” Gordon said.
“Let us not allow a drug manufacturer’s bid to clear its name and escape civil liability by spurring the debate on the reintroduction of Dengvaxia in our country goad us into placing our children at risk for infectious diseases. We should only be worried about Dengvaxia being reinstituted on a mass scale,” he added.
The WHO recently ranked the Philippines third worldwide with the highest incidence of measles over a 12-month period from January to June this year with 45,847 cases.
Madagascar was first with more than 150,000 cases while Ukraine came in at second with more than 84,300 cases.
The Department of Health said the country’s immunization rate dropped to just 40 percent early this year. It attributed the decline to the public’s fear of vaccines following the controversy surrounding the use of Dengvaxia, an anti-dengue vaccine administered to school children by the previous Aquino administration.
However, the Public Attorney’s Office has blamed Dengvaxia for numerous deaths involving children who received the vaccine.
Gordon said the EPI seeks to ensure that children, particularly infants, and their mothers have access to vaccines recommended for their age to prevent specific diseases.