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MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday urged parents to get their children vaccinated for measles following predictions of a possible measles outbreak in 2021.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque allayed fears against the government’s immunization campaign, saying a measles vaccine is one of the “oldest” vaccines to be used globally.

Ang mensahe po ng Presidente: Mga magulang huwag po nating katakutan ang bakuna (The President’s message: Parents, don’t be afraid of getting your children vaccinated),” he said in a Palace press briefing.

Roque said failing to get their children vaccinated could put their health at great risk.

“Bakit pa po natin i-expose sa aberya ating mga minamahal sa buhay na mga chikiting eh samantalang mayroon naman po tayong tried and proven na bakuna laban diyan?(Why will we expose our children to harm when there are tried and proven vaccines to prevent diseases?),” he said.

He acknowledged concerns over vaccines after issues hounding the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine but noted that the case for measles vaccines is different.

“Itong measles naman po, matagal na pong ginagamit iyan so wala po kayong dapat ikatakot ‘no (This measles vaccine has been used for a long time, so you have nothing to fear),” he said.

Last Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said it will conduct a nationwide immunization campaign to prevent a predicted measles outbreak next year.

An estimated 2.4 children under the age of 5 are also susceptible to measles, one of the world’s most contagious diseases.

Meanwhile, Roque also appealed to the public to hang on a bit longer until a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is available.

“Antay lang po nang konti, konting tiyaga at ang pangako naman ng Presidente, gagastusin po natin ang kaban ng bayan para mabigyan unang-una ang mga mahihirap ng bakuna laban sa Covid-19 (Just wait a bit longer and the President promised that he’ll spend public funds to give the poor a vaccine against Covid-19),” he said.

Earlier, Roque said the government is ready to implement an immunization plan should a Covid-19 vaccine roll out in the future.

He said the government can allocate PHP20 billion to buy the vaccine with the help of the Philippine International Trading Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he will seek a discount from China and Russia on the Covid-19 vaccines that each of the two countries developed and promised to supply the Philippines with. (PNA)