DOH urged to intensify immunization program

Quezon City Representative Alfred Vargas has urged the Department of Health (DOH) to intensify its immunization program nationwide after the local governments of Davao and Zamboanga declared a measles outbreak.

“The Department of Health is urged to coordinate with the local government health officials and civil society groups to intensify measles vaccination in the affected areas,” he said.

Vargas also asked the House Committee on Health to conduct a probe on the country’s immunization program and reported measles outbreaks in the country as soon as possible.

On January 22, 2018, the local government of Davao declared a measles outbreak after more than 200 people showed signs of the highly-contagious infection. The declaration of an outbreak was aimed at not only raising awareness but also emphasizing the importance of performing immunization of operations across the city because out of 224 measles cases, 119 patients were not vaccinated.

Zamboanga City has jotted 101 measles cases from January 1 to February 1, 2018, recording a 1,343-percent increase in the number of cases compared to the same period last year.

“The DOH attributed these outbreaks to low vaccine coverage in the past years,” Vargas stated.

“It was reported that the controversy pertaining to the Dengvaxia vaccine was among the main reasons behind the refusal of some parents in those areas to avail of free vaccination for measles for their children,” he added.

Relaying Article III Section 15 of the1987 Constitution, Vargas reiterated that it is the state’s responsibility to protect and promote the right of health of the people as well as help them have health consciousness.