Aquino to parents: Get measles vaccines for your kids
MANILA, Philippines – As measles outbreaks in different parts of the country continue, none other than the President himself is asking Filipino parents to protect their children from the infectious disease.
On Monday, September 1, President Benigno Aquino III appealed to the public to take part in the mass immunization campaign, which aims to achieve at least 95% vaccination coverage at all administrative levels.
Some areas still have a less than 50% vaccination rate, the President said when he graced the launch of the month-long campaign at the Department of Health (DOH) compound in Manila. He also said 11-13 million of children are at risk of polio and measles.
“The DOH will do all it can but, of course, we need to cooperate with all local government units,” Aquino said.
“And the most important thing is the parents themselves who care for their kids, they should be the first [to go] to ensure all our children get vaccinated, so they can truly be protected from this illness that can easily be prevented if we all help one another.”
Aquino said the government gave the DOH enough funds in order to achieve the 95% vaccination goal. (READ: Measles-free Philippines by 2017?)
Measles is a viral, highly-contagious respiratory disease. Infected persons exhibit symptoms such as high fever, red eyes, runny nose, and cough. Rashes appear throughout the body after two days.
The illness can be spread through cough or direct contact with body secretions of an infected person. A person with measles can pass the disease on to 18 other people.
For 2014 alone, the DOH already recorded 6,287 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles. (READ: DOH steps up drive vs measles amid outbreak)
Required for children under 5
Last June, United States health authorities have linked the Philippines to 288 US measles cases so far this year, the most in two decades, a rise that is driven by unvaccinated people. In August, the DOH confirmed the Philippines “exported” the highly contagious disease to other countries.
The nationwide campaign is a followup to the DOH’s 2011 Measles Rubella Supplemental Immunization Activity, which aims to interrupt measles transmission. The Rubella Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) was added in this year’s campaign to hamper the spread of wild polio virus in the country through importation from other countries.
All children from 9 months to about 5 years old are required to get vaccinated, as data shows most cases from 2013 to early 2014 are under 5 years old. Many are unvaccinated.
All health centers can administer vaccines during the mass immunization period of September 1 to 30. – Rappler.com