THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 is aiming to vaccinate at least a million children following the measles outbreak in Central Visayas and other regions.
DOH 7 Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas said they have enough supply of measles vaccines. They also have a contingency fund for the purchase of more vaccines in case their supplies run out.
“There are 7.5 million people living in Central Visayas, a million of which are children. We are ready to use our available supply of vaccines to provide protection for those children,” Bernadas said.
Bernadas said that all barangay health centers and the provincial health offices in the region will be open 24 hours for those who want to avail themselves of the free anti-measles vaccine.
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino also urged parents to have their children vaccinated.
Bernadas and Dino were in Barangay Duljo-Fatima in Cebu City on Monday, Feb. 18, to launch the regional vaccine information caravan dubbed “Pabakuna Ta Alang sa Luwas ug Himsog nga Panglawas.”
Around 100 parents attended the event with their children.
Bernadas said the activity aims to reinforce the government’s information drive on measles vaccination down to the sitio level.
“We appeal to the parents to bring their children to health centers and have them vaccinated against measles. We have data to show that this nationwide measles outbreak is alarming,” he said.
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus of the Paramyxovirus family and is normally passed from one person to another through direct contact and through the air.
Last Feb. 7, the DOH declared a measles outbreak in four regions including Central Visayas.
On Feb. 11, the DOH 7 raised a code white alert, which requires all public hospitals to prioritize the treatment of measles.
As of Feb. 18, the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit 7 recorded a total of 299 measles cases in the region. Three deaths were reported in Cebu alone.
Dino assured the parents that they have nothing to fear about the vaccines as this would protect their children against preventable diseases such as measles, diphtheria and polio, among others.
“No child has died after being given anti-measles vaccine. That is why I urge you to have your children vaccinated. And don’t be afraid because there are no ill effects if you have them vaccinated,” Dino added in Cebuano.
Babylyn Ibon, 30, one of the caravan participants, said her neighbor, a barangay health worker, invited her to attend the event.
“Prevention is better than cure. I wouldn’t risk the health of my two kids,” she said in Cebuano. (From PAC of SuperBalita Cebu, Wenilyn B. Sabalo, USJ-R Intern, JKV)