THE Department of Health (DOH)-Cordillera assured there is enough supply of anti-measles vaccines amid an increase in cases in Baguio City and Benguet Province.
Amelita Pangilinan, DOH–CAR officer-in-charge, said Baguio recorded 56 cases while Benguet reported six from January to February this year.
“We already did our special immunization activity on measles last year because we already saw an increase last year. And if we look at the profile of those affected by measles, it is above the age group of immunization which is 20 to 25 years old and above, and less than nine months old before the immunization schedule,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said measles is a virus caused by the paramyxovirus family and can be passed directly through contact and through the air. It infects the respiratory tract.
The DOH official added unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of the disease and its complications which include severe diarrhea, pneumonia, blindness, and even death.
“We are doing everything that’s why we avoided an outbreak, otherwise, it would have been worse, and last year we started in Baguio City conducting house to house vaccination. The profile that we saw were those vaccinated for measles but failed to get a booster shot. One dose is not enough to be given for those nine to 15 months old for the MMR or booster,” Pangilinan explained.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised Filipino parents to have their children vaccinated against measles, as the number of cases of the disease increased by an alarming 367 percent.
WHO said there are 17,298 reported measles cases in the Philippines from January to November 2018 alone, a huge leap from the 3,706 reported measles cases for the same period in 2017.
“We are calling on the parents to avail of the routine immunization and not be affected by the negative dengvaxia controversy because these vaccines for measles are safer, widely studied, have been given for a long time, has been proven safe, and is the most effective way to combat measles for a person to have the anti-bodies to prevent measles,” Pangilinan added.
DOH-Cordillera also conducted school-based immunization wherein grade school students undergo immunization but noticed the decline because of the Dengvaxia scare which it admitted was the biggest problem of the department.