Metro’s gated villages spurn gov’t anti-measles vaccinationBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Health officials on Friday warned homeowners in Metro Manila’s affluent villages that they are risking the health of their children by turning away government medical teams offering free anti-measles vaccination.
The Department of Health on Friday said its special anti-measles vaccination campaign has covered only 63 percent of the 2.2 million infants and children qualified to receive free immunization in Metro Manila since it started on April 4.
The setback was attributed to households in the capital’s gated villages which are turning down the free vaccination on the advice of private physicians.
“Many families in Metro Manila, particularly those living in plush villages, still need convincing that though their children have already been administered the anti-measles vaccination before, it does not guarantee their protection so they need to be vaccinated again,” said assistant health secretary Dr. Eric Tayag.
Many children in the gated subdivisions may also not have been given the free vaccination when the DOH teams visited their homes as they were probably on vacation, particularly during Holy Week and Easter, Tayag said.
“So our teams will be paying these children a second visit before they go back to school next month,” said Tayag, who heads the National Epidemiology Center.
The DOH appealed to the households in the exclusive villages to open their doors to the vaccination teams in the next four weeks.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona also appealed to private doctors to advise their clients to allow the DOH vaccination teams to check their immunization cards for validation of the vaccines received.
The DOH is giving its anti-measles vaccination campaign “Iligtas sa Tigdas ang Pinas” (Save the Philippines from Measles) one more month to cover 18 million children nationwide.
Ona said the vaccination teams will continue to knock on people’s doors until June 4 to provide free immunization to children aged nine months to eight years.
Partial results as of Friday showed that 11.8 million, or 63 percent of the targeted 18 million children, have so far received free vaccination against measles and rubella.