MANILA -- A health official on Friday lamented that the Dengvaxia scare has affected the government’s health programs, especially its immunization program.

"We're having a lot of difficulty. Our regional offices are calling us, our local government unit mayors… We had a deworming this January and uptake was very low," Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Dr. Rolando Enrique Domingo said during a press briefing at the department’s media relations unit in Manila.

Domingo noted that the DOH’s deworming activities have been conducted for years but was poorly met this year.

He said they are even catching up with the measles vaccination, given the measles outbreak in Davao.

The health official thus called on parents not to doubt the other vaccines that are protecting children from such diseases as polio, diphtheria, mumps, and tetanus, citing that such vaccines had been tried and tested for a long time.

"Hindi naman tayo dapat mangamba in a way na napa-paralyze na tayo (We should not worry too much in such a way we would be paralyzed by fear)," he said.

Domingo further shared that in his visits to communities, he met pediatricians who said some of their patients were afraid of dying because of Dengvaxia.

Every day, he said, many children ask if they would die because they received vaccination or if they contract dengue.

"And it’s very difficult to tell them na merong magkakasakit ng dengue, merong magkakasakit ng ibang sakit (that there are those who would get sick of dengue and there are those who would acquire other illnesses). In fact, our health statistics show na hindi naman lahat ng nine years old ay magiging 10 years old, whether na-vaccinate ka or hindi (that not all nine-year-olds would turn 10, whether they were vaccinated with Dengvaxia or not),” Domingo said.

He explained that for every one million nine-year-olds who have not been vaccinated, about 400 or 500 of them would not make it to their 10th birthday due to natural causes -- leukemia, infectious diseases, pneumonia, diarrhea, and other illnesses.

"There may be added risks for some of them but konting-konti lang naman yun (that is minimal)," he said.

He advised children to carry on with their usual activities “because even if they get dengue, we will be able to take care of them.”

If they seek medical attention early, there is a 99.5 percent chance that they would survive that dengue, he added. (PNA/Photo courtesy of DOH San Luis, Aurora HRH)