Makati Mayor Abby Binay has reminded parents not to take vaccination programs for granted because it can compromise their children’s health.
The mayor issued the appeal as Makati City kicked off its intensified vaccination program against measles. The city is echoing the national campaign led by the Department of Health, following the recent spike in measles cases in Metro Manila and Mindanao.
“As a mother, I would like to appeal to parents not to take vaccination programs for granted. Vaccines are given to our babies and children for free to prevent them from becoming sick with measles and other serious conditions. It is our obligation as parents to make sure that our children grow up healthy,” the mayor reminded.
In line with the National Ligtas Tigdas Supplemental Immunization Activity, personnel from the Makati Health Department (MHD) started conducting simultaneous house-to-house measles vaccination campaigns in all barangays. The program will run daily until May 24, 2018and will be targeting a total of 12,358 children.
Mayor Abby said vaccines will be given to children from six to 59 months old. Children who received the initial measles vaccine will be given booster shots to improve their immunity against the measles virus.
Measles vaccines are traditionally given to infants between nine and 12 months old. It is part of the MMR vaccine combo for measles, mumps, and rubella. These are administered free of charge at the city’s barangay health centers.
Mayor Abby also stressed that the low incidence of measles cases in the city is a result of the MHD’s effective vaccination programs and information campaigns. She said that while there may be cases of measles in the city, they were few and treated immediately.
The mayor reiterated that in the case of measles and other illnesses with vaccines, prevention is always better than cure.
At the national level, measles cases reportedly spiked 3,671 percent this year. DOH chief Francisco Duque III said there were 5,450 reported cases of measles from January to April. This is in stark contrast to only 24 confirmed cases in 2017. What is even more alarming is that 86 percent of the children who died were not vaccinated for measles.
Duque also reminded parents that the measles vaccine is safe and that the government has been giving this to children since the 1970s.
The Health Chief admitted the aversion to all vaccines have been triggered by the recent Dengvaxia scandal. However, Duque was quick to assure parents that the measles vaccine has been tested and proven effective for decades.
Measles is a highly-infectious and fatal illness caused by a virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) some 2.6 million unvaccinated individuals die from measles complications every year.
In children, the most common complication and cause of death is pneumonia. Adults with compromised immune systems are also susceptible to the virus.