Parents refuse free measles vaccination for their kids

THE issue hounding Dengvaxia vaccine victims has led to the refusal of some parents to let their children acquire measles vaccine.

City Council committee on health chairperson Dr. Mary Joselle Villafuerte confirmed this day saying that fear of complication from dengue vaccine was among the main reasons why parents refused to have their child avail of the free measles vaccine from the Davao City Health Office (CHO).

Villafuerte said parents should not be afraid of measles vaccine since it is already tested effective for years.

"Walang deaths na recorded from these vaccines, parents have nothing to be afraid of," she said, adding that the procurement of the vaccine followed protocol.

In a previous interview, assistant health officer Dr. Marjorie Culas, said that the CHO is using the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines.

"Ang measles vaccine po ilang dekada na po sa Pilipinas unlike sa Dengvaxia na nasa last phase Dengvaxia na nasa last phase pa ng trial. Kaya walang dapat ikatakot ang ating mamamayan sa epekto nito sa mga bata. The vaccine we give is called MMR vaccine, kasama na dito ang mumps at dalawang type ng measles vaccines - Rubeola at Rubella," Culas said.

Meanwhile, aside from the Dengvaxia scare, Villafuerte added that around 80 percent of those with suspected measles cases said they were not immunized and the top reason for this is that their parents are busy.

The CHO has been conducting vaccination of measles in various areas in the city to prevent the rise of cases of measles.

The City Government on Monday night officially declared an "outbreak" of measles following the increased number of people infected by the viral infection from November 2017 to early January of 2018.

The Department of Health Regional Office has recorded a total of 224 suspected cases of measles in Davao City from November 2, 2017 to January 11.

Villafuerte, in her privilege speech in Tuesday's session, said four deaths were already recorded, due to complications of measles.

One primary complication of measles is pneumonia, which has already claimed the lives of a two-year-old from Catalunan Pequeño and a seven month-old infant from Barangay 22-C (Piapi).

Aside from pneumonia, a six-month-old infant from Barangay Sto. Niño Tugbok District and a four-year old from Matina also died of other complications.

Villafuerte said majority of those with measles were males at one month old to 14 years old.

Mini Forest or Barangay 22-C was recorded to have the highest number of cases with 60.

Culas, in a separate interview Tuesday afternoon, said 18 cases of measles were already confirmed positive by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine Manila.

She added that CHO conducted Outbreak Immunization Response (ORI) starting November when they had a positive result of measles and this continued until January.

She said that from November 2017 up to December 2017, they vaccinated 15,071 children.

They have also started with the ORI this January and to date they were able to inject 29,863.

"All in all total of 44,434 na ang na-immunize," Culas said in a text message to SunStar Davao.

To address the spread of virus, the CHO has been doing immunization or booster of measles vaccine for children six to 59 months. The immunization is done house to house or at the health center.

They are also conducting information campaign on measles awareness.

The same office also advised establishments or workplaces that if an employee shows signs or symptoms of measles, they advise that the employee not report for work.

The signs and symptoms of measles, which are felt after around two weeks after exposure to the virus, are high fever, cough, colds, sore throat, inflammation of the eyes, skin rashes, and white spots on the inner lining of the cheeks.

Meanwhile, Villafuerte also asked cooperation of the barangay captains in the city to help assist health workers who are doing continued outbreak response immunization in several areas in the city.
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