DESPITE their intensified awareness campaign, refusal to vaccination remains to be a challenge for the Department of Health - Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (DOH-Resu) Davao during their massive vaccination program in the region.
Dr. Cleo Fe Tabada, head of the DOH Resu Davao, yesterday said that there are still people in the region who are against vaccination. DOH has been doing rounds in different municipalities and cities for their massive vaccination campaign for diseases like measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, and cervical cancer.
“Immunization has been a bit difficult to institute basically because of several anti-vaccine people - meaning they promote no immunization or they talk about the bad effects of immunization or contraindication of immunization which is not very helpful,” Tabada said.
Some group of people is questioning the safety of the vaccine to prevent children from being vaccinated. However, she underscored that a larger percentage of those who were not immunized were children who were not in their houses during the visits. The challenge on their part is trying to locate where these kids are.
DOH has requested additional volunteers to augment their work force coming from the Red Cross, Rotary Club, and other non-government organizations to help enhance their immunization coverage.
Tabada also observed that although there is resistance from the parents before but after their neighbors availed the vaccination; they began to gain confidence and later asked health officials how to avail the immunization even if they said no earlier on.
“The sad part again because the discussions on the bad effect are heightened, a lot of the parents do not submit their kids for immunization that’s why they are exposed to the prevailing of measles,” Tabada said.
She added that all chemicals and substances that injected into the body have reactions but the measles vaccine has been used over the years and is found to be safe. If there are reactions to children, she said that those are just normal. She said giving the children protection from serious diseases is far more important.
The loss of public confidence and trust in vaccines in the immunization program was triggered during the Dengvaxia controversy in November 2017. Some parents began to question other types of vaccination offered by the DOH fearing it might have the same effect on their children.