An outbreak of measles in the National Capital Region (NCR) has officially been declared by the Department of Health (DOH) as of February 6, Wednesday. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced the news due to the high number of children with measles cases in San Lazaro Hospital.
Found in Manila, the hospital is known as a referral center for infectious diseases of the DOH and has seen 1,355 cases of measles as of Feb. 5, 2019. Of those cases, 1,114 were children. The hospital records 48 cases of measles per day on average.
It has been reported that even infants younger than nine months have been stricken with measles, at an age younger than is recommended to receive anti-measles vaccines.
Duque referred to the Dengvaxia vaccine scare as a main cause of the sudden rise in measles cases. The health secretary mentioned how the controversy has negatively affected the people’s trust in vaccination and the government’s immunization program.
Duque also mentioned that immunization efforts have been proven safe and has been qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO). He urges parents to vaccinate their children at available health centers.
Vice President Leni Robredo also expressed concern over the recent outbreak, urging the Duterte administration to encourage the public to start vaccinating their children and gain back their trust after the Dengvaxia scare.
Last year, vaccination coverage was reported to be at around 40 percent. The DOH aims to achieve a 90 percent vaccination rate for 2019.
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