DOH forms task force vs. measles outbreak

By Leilani Junio

April 4, 2018, 7:56 pm

MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday announced that it has created a task force that will implement immunization strategies to address the measles outbreak.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the task force will oversee the immunization strategies that will be conducted in areas of the National Capital Region and Mindanao.

Duque said the task group will also conduct supplemental immunization activity in those areas to expand its coverage and simultaneously do aggressive outbreak response immunization in areas where there are reported outbreaks.

"This task force is created precisely to be able to protect the vulnerable populations from contracting the measles virus. In the end, what we want is to achieve 'herd immunity' for substantial population so that if there will be cases, it will not spread further because it is being surrounded by people who are immunized and protected adequately," Duque said in an interview.

He said the strategies were already done as initial measures during the outbreaks that took place in some areas in Taguig City and provinces in Mindanao to boost the immunization rates which were adversely affected by the Dengvaxia controversy.

Duque said the first round of the immunization is scheduled from April 25 to May 24, while the second round in Mindanao will be from May 9 to June 8, targeting 9-month and 12-month-old babies with booster dose for measles, mumps and rubella.

Both activities will be marked by house-to-house immunization through the local government units vaccinators from its rural health centers and barangay (village) health stations.

Under the devolved health system, the DOH provides the vaccine to LGUs while latter's health workers conduct the immunization. (PNA)