Vaccination fear continues*

THE public’s fear of vaccination brought about by the controversial issue of Dengvaxia seems to be the reason behind this year’s rise in cases of measles in the country.

Based on the records of the World Health Organization (WHO), measles cases have risen by 367 percent from January to November of this year compared with January until November of 2017. Clearly, this is no laughing matter.

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said there is a significant drop in the confidence of the people in the immunization program being offered by the Department of Health (DOH) from 92 percent to a measly 33 percent. Certain regions had been affected by the running Dengvaxia issue.

Doctor Susan Mercado, a public health expert, explained that there is nothing to fear since the shots being given against measles have long been a part of the regular immunization program of the DOH for children. She said it was almost 95 percent effective and could not be compared to Dengvaxia.

Several local officials from Malapatan, Sarangani reported the recent deaths in their areas due to measles, a contagious, airborne disease that could spread and infect people. The DOH stated that victims of measles are mostly women from age four up to 40 years old.

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We could not blame anyone, especially the parents, if they continue to fear Dengvaxia.

A lot of children who were given Dengvaxia and died went through similar sufferings like multiple organ failure, severe cerebral hemorrhage, and others. Nothing could be more painful for parents than to stand helpless as their children suffer and take their last gasp.

The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) under Attorney Persida Acosta has continued to conduct autopsies on the remains of children who showed the same indications before they died allegedly from the deadly vaccine.

While efforts are being made to determine who should be made responsible for the deaths related to Dengvaxia, the government should extend whatever help they could provide the family and relatives of the victims.

And more importantly, the government ought not to ignore the deaths recorded due to measles or take them lightly especially since the lives of our children are again at stake. It should continue to conduct awareness programs even in the farthest corners of the land and enlighten everyone on the difference between Dengvaxia and other regular immunization programs of the DOH. The health of the children should be prioritized at all times. Measles need not spread if children are immunized properly.

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*The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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