DOH rolls out JE vaccine in 4 regions
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it would offer Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccine to children in four regions through an immunization program.
According to DOH, the JE vaccine will be introduced this month in regions most affected by the disease — Regions I, II, III and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Children aged nine months to less than five years old will be eligible to receive the vaccine, the Health Department added.
JE is a mosquito-borne viral disease and is the leading cause of viral encephalitis. Those infected will experience a sudden onset of high fever, chills, headache, and tiredness.
The JE virus is transmitted by Culex mosquitoes which thrive from water pools and flooded rice fields.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured that the vaccine is safe and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“Now, the Japanese encephalitis vaccine is available in the Philippines. This vaccine is WHO-prequalified and Philippine FDA-approved. It is safe and effective,” Duque said in a statement.
Duque added that it has been used for over 30 years in 12 countries and was offered to more than 400 million children with “excellent safety record.”
DOH Epidemiology Bureau data showed that there are 122 JE cases recorded in 2016 and 275 JE cases in 2017.
In 2018, about 340 laboratory-confirmed JE cases were reported. The highest number of cases were recorded in Region III, followed by Regions I and II. /ee
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