KIDAPAWAN CITY – The Department of Health in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) will embark on massive measles vaccination starting next week for children nine months to five years old, as the disease continues to threaten many parts of the country.

Jenny Panizales, DOH-12 focal person on measles eradication, said the massive vaccination against measles across the region aims to ensure that no outbreak will occur in Region 12.

“We aim to reach even the farthest villages to ensure 100 percent immunization,” Panizales said on Thursday.

From January to Feb. 19, according to Panizales, the DOH-12 recorded 244 measles cases throughout Soccsksargen--composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Sarangani and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal, and General Santos.

She said DOH-12 registered an additional 62 patients from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The figure is two percent higher as compared to the same period last year where DOH-12 listed 239 cases. Of the number, Cotabato City had 33 measles cases, Gen. Santos City (38), North Cotabato (44), Sarangani (55), Sultan Kudarat 12 and South Cotabato (62).

A 5-year old child in Polomolok was reported to have died due to measles but Panizales said the confirmation is still being processed in Manila.

She said 75 percent of 244 measles cases this year involved unvaccinated children, admitting that the Dengvaxia scare had contributed to the parents’ reluctance to have their children vaccinated.

Panizales said the DOH health workers in partnership with the local government units will conduct the Rapid Coverage Assessment with health providers bringing vaccines to serve children who are yet to receive anti-measles vaccines. (PNA)