DOH: Measles immunization program regains public confidence on vaccines
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health’s (DOH) immunization programs on measles helped regain public confidence on vaccines, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Tuesday.
“Ironically, Dengvaxia broke confidence, measles [vaccination] caused a resurgence — a recoup, we were able to recoup the confidence in our immunization program, and the figures can’t lie. You can see that this is a reflection of resurgent confidence of the public,” Duque said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
The health chief cited that the “downward trend” in the number of measles cases helped regain public confidence in the vaccination program. From April 7 to 13, 775 new measles cases were reported throughout the country, compared to the 1,280 cases recorded from March 27 to 30.
DOH previously said the measles outbreak could be attributed to the hesitation of mothers to have their children vaccinated in health centers.
A study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 showed that the reasons for not immunizing children in Metro Manila include “fear due to Dengvaxia or dengue vaccine and the lack of time among households.”
However, Duque said the work on helping parents overcome the fear of vaccination for their children is far from over.
“The work is far from over [and] far from complete,” Duque said. “The challenge is translating the fear (of parents) into general trust and confidence. That is something [that] we ought to address.”
In 2016, the DOH launched its anti-dengue immunization drive, which placed Dengvaxia vaccine to 830,000 adults and children in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and Cebu under the program.
However, in 2017, Dengvaxia maker Sanofi Pasteur announced that the vaccine may increase the risk of severe dengue to patients who received it without previous exposure to the disease. /ee
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