Anne Curtis wants immunization prioritized vs measles outbreak

Faith Castro
February 9, 2019

Found in Manila, the hospital is known as a referral center for infectious diseases of the DOH and has seen 1,355 cases of measles as of February 5, 2019.

In a news conference, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles on Friday said the government might face legal issues in court if it implemented mandatory immunization for children.

The Department of Health declared an outbreak in Central Visayas on Thursday stating with 96 cases recorded for January 2019 alone.

"At least you should have a sizable number or segment of the population that will be protected so that you begin to build a wall around the people who have not been vaccinated for a myriad of reasons, may it be religious or customary", he said. In addition, 861 suspected cases have been reported in the Metro Manila area during the first month of the year.

The health department in the Philippines announced the measles outbreak and blamed it on low vaccination rates among children.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte was saddened by the measles outbreak and directed the DoH to address the situation immediately.

"I think it might be questioned before the courts somehow", he said.

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The health department reported that vaccine coverage rate plunged to 40 per cent a year ago (2018) from 70 per cent in 2017. He expressed concern drop in the number of vaccinated children amid the fear arising from the alleged bungled implementation of the anti-dengue vaccine program.

The Department of Health (DOH) has encouraged government hospitals in Western Visayas to dedicate isolation rooms for measles cases. Of those cases, 1,114 were children. It said 60 had died, all of them children under 4.

The sharp increase in measles cases and deaths prompted senators to call on the public to get children vaccinated. Ejercito, chairman of the Senate committee on health and demography, stressed the importance of vaccines-administered free in barangay health centers-to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

Convocar said they also prioritize the implementation of "measles fast lanes".

The UNICEF also vowed to support the Philippines in fighting measles by ensuring that vaccines are available.

"The analysis confirmed that Dengvaxia provides persistent [protective] benefit against dengue fever in those who had prior infection", Sanofi said in a statement at the time.

"We are declaring an outbreak as cases have increased in the past weeks and to strengthen surveillance of new cases and alert mothers and caregivers to be more vigilant", Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

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