DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Sara Z. Duterte has refused to blame the Dengvaxia scare as the reason for the downtrend in the immunization rate in the city.
“For the past years, even before the Dengvaxia controversy, the immunization rate has lowered. I don’t know the reason behind it, maybe because the new parents do not know the importance of immunization,” she said.
The City health office has not released new figures on the immunization rate in the city but in 2014, it was only 57%. In all of Davao Region, the rate was 60% in 2017 and 39% in 2018, according to the Department of Health in Region 11.
Duterte said health workers have to educate parents on the importance of having their children immunized, specially with the discovery of the poliovirus in the Davao River.
“I encourage the parents to have their children immunized. We should not be complacent and ensure that our children received complete vaccination,” she said, amid the CHO’s admission that majority of the 16 who died of measles in Region 11 were from this city.
DOH 11 said the figure was from January to September 2 this year.
In the entire Davao region, 1,299 cases of measles had been recorded during the said period, with Davao City registering 9 deaths out of 536 cases.
City Health Office head Dr. Josephine Villafuerte said parents can always go to the nearest health centers to get their children immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and polio.
She said a massive vaccination drive would also be conducted on October 14, during which the CHO will put up centers in malls here.
Villafuerte said public and private hospitals would also be giving free vaccination on that day.
“CHO staff and volunteers will be placed in strategic places to ensure a 100% coverage,” she said. “We must remember that our Davao River tested positive of the poliovirus so we need to conduct measures to prevent the epidemic here in the city.”
Villafuerte said the CHO would also put up immunization centers near gated subdivisions aside from the conduct of a house-to-house campaign
Aside from the vaccination, Villafuerte said the warning against swimming in the Davao River is still on.
“Skip public swimming areas as well,” she said, adding that there had been no case of polio in the city yet. – Rappler.com