DOH boosts measles immunization program

By Leilani Junio

April 2, 2018, 6:37 pm

MANILA --The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said that it is enhancing its measles immunization by conducting a two-track immunization program targetting areas where there have been recent measles outbreaks.

“We will have two programs for measles immunization catch up plan - national and local levels,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

Duque said that though the catch-up plan was something not really new and was being done already in the past, they are once again using the same strategy as they address the issue of outbreaks of measles.

"We hope that the parents will trust our vaccination program again to protect our children for vaccine-preventable diseases,” Duque said.

Under the catch up plan, the targets are the local level where there are high cases of measles recorded.

“We will have targeted immunization in coordination with local government units to do house-to-house and massive campaign to bring their children for immunization,” said Duque.

These include National Capital Region, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9), Davao Region (Region 11), and Soccsksargen (Region 12).

The DOH chief said the catch up plan will complement the existing national measles immunization drive usually scheduled every second quarter of the year to ensure that those who miss the immunization will be given the opportunity to be protected.

Duque said they are already coordinating with all local governments in the country for the preparation for the said program because of the devolve health system.

He said that he will be having a meeting with his executive committe members to ensure also that there are enough supplies of measles vaccines as they hold the two-track program.

Duque said he is also set to form a task force that will be directly in charge of the measles vaccination programs.

DOH records show that a total of 598 confirmed measles cases have been reported from January 1 to March 17 this year, compared to the 16 measles cases recorded during the same period as last year.

Some of the factors that can lead to outbreaks of measles includes on failure to be vaccinated due to some barriers to immunization such as conflict areas wherein the communities access to vaccine is limited while other reasons can be due to inavailability of the recipients. (PNA)