DOH told: Quell fears on Japanese encephalitis thru info campaign | Inquirer News
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DOH told: Quell fears on Japanese encephalitis thru info campaign

/ 11:47 AM September 10, 2017
Nancy Binay

Senator Nancy Binay. PHOTO FROM THE OFFICE OF SENATOR NANCY BINAY

Senator Nancy Binay on Sunday urged the Department of Health (DOH) to be cautious in its efforts to quell public scare amid reports of high costs and shortage of Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccine.

“To date, Japanese encephalitis has claimed nine lives in our country. While this number might not be alarming to the DOH, it has caused many parents to worry over their children’s susceptibility to the disease. I urge the DOH to look into quelling the public’s fears through a comprehensive information campaign,” Binay said in a statement.

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“Health is a sensitive issue and must be treated with care. The DOH must remember this in its efforts to address the issues surrounding Japanese encephalitis,” she added.

The senator made the call following public clamor for vaccines against JE, which prompted the DOH to issue warnings against purchasing vaccines from unknown sources and administering it during the rainy season, when it is said to be less effective.

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Binay said that according to reports, stocks of the JE vaccine are running low due to the sudden rise in demand from the public. This has caused many to look for alternative sources of the vaccine, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a warning against buying JE vaccines which are of questionable quality and may even pose health risks, she added.

READ: Vaccine for Japanese encephalitis out of stock

“If it is not recommended for the vaccine to be administered during this time, the DOH must intensify its efforts to spread this information to the public. Because while there are efforts to do this, many are still looking for other ways to procure the vaccines despite warnings against doing so,” the senator said.

“Dapat maagapan ito ng DOH bago pa man magkagulo lalo ang ating mga kababayan. Sa Laguna na lamang kung saan mayroon nang namatay dahil sa sakit na ito ay may report na nagkakaubusan na ang stocks ng bakuna, dahilan para magpanic ang ilan sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

JE is a viral disease spread by the Culex mosquito from pigs and waterbirds. It targets the nervous system, causing high fever, headache, stiff neck, disorientation, paralysis, seizures, coma and even death.

This year, the DOH has recorded nine deaths out of the 133 total cases of JE. Four of these were reported in Pampanga, two in Zambales, two in Pangasinan, two in Laguna and one in Nueva Ecija, the senator said.

To date, Imojev is the only brand of JE vaccine in the country which could cost from P2,500 to P4,000 per shot, depending on the hospital where it is availed, Binay added.

“Sa ngayon, sana ay paigtingin ng DOH ang information campaign nito upang ma-educate at mapawi ang pangamba ng ating mga kababayan. Isa pong public health issue ang Japanese encephalitis kaya nararapat lamang na pagtuunan ito ng pansin ng ating pamahalaan,” the senator said. je

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TAGS: DoH, fears, Information campaign, Japanese encephalitis, Nancy Binay, vaccine
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