SOME 67,000 children from 39 towns and cities have availed themselves of the government’s free dengue vaccination program as of last week, according to the Department of Health (DOH) 7.
Lapu-Lapu City had the most number of children who got vaccinated with 27,505 individuals getting the vaccine since the program started last June 9, followed by Mandaue City with 6,589 and Cebu City with 3,090 persons vaccinated.
In Bogo City, a total of 4,081 children received their first dose of the vaccine through a community-based distribution system. The second dose is set to be administered in January next year, and the third and final dose in July 2018, according to a press statement.
A total of 67,258 children aged nine to 14 have been given the vaccine. “The vaccination is in three doses, six months apart. Before vaccination, the child has to be screened if he or she is qualified. Dengue vaccination is done to protect our children from the fatal dengue disease,” said Dr. Minerva Millor, Bogo City health officer.
“If vaccinated, the child will be protected from dengue disease,” she added.
Dengvaxia, the anti-dengue vaccine that was administered is not a cure for dengue. The vaccine boosts immunity to four types of dengue virus, reducing a person’s vulnerability.
Dr. Millor assured the public that even if the vaccine was just recently introduced to the public, several years of study was made before its release to the market thus ensuring its safety.
This, as the health department reported a decrease in the number of dengue cases in the region in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year. A total of 7,585 cases were recorded in the region with 73 deaths, fewer compared to the 9,211 cases reported in the first six months last year, which saw 76 deaths. The number of cases dropped by 18 percent. The dengue situation in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue is different, though, with the three cities reporting the highest number of dengue cases, and an increase in the number of cases and deaths. Dengue cases in Cebu City so far this year reached 1,663 with 21 deaths, much higher compared to the 1,372 cases reported in the same period last year, which saw only seven deaths.
In Lapu-Lapu City, the number of dengue cases more than doubled, from 249 cases with five deaths in the first seven months last year to 553 cases with seven deaths so far this year. Mandaue City reported 539 cases so far this year, higher compared to the 400 cases in the same period last year. The number of deaths is fewer, with one death so far this year compared to the eight recorded in the same period last year.
“We can say that dengue fever is a disease of urbanization and industrialization,” said Dr. Shelbay Blanco of the DOH 7’s Local Health Support Division.
Blanco attributed the decrease in the number of cases and deaths to the effective campaign and coordination between the local government units and and DOH 7 in the clean-up program and massive information drive regarding the disease. (TLN)