Image file via the PNA

The Department of Health (DOH) said that 2.4 million Filipino children are vulnerable to contracting measles, thus the department is targeting to vaccinate them.

“Kapag tiningnan po natin iyong ating datos, ang nakalagay po sa amin 2.4 million na mga bata na nagkukulang o vulnerable sila ngayon para magkaroon ng tigdas. So iyan po iyong target natin ngayon sa buong bansa (If we look at the data, we have about 2.4 million children who have not been (vaccinated) or vulnerable to contracting measles. So, that is our target all over the country),” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during the Laging Handa briefing on Saturday aired over state-run PTV4.

Vergeire said the number of susceptible children or those who are at risk of getting measles is increasing and so she encourages parents of children who are less than 1 year old to have them vaccinated.

To date, the DOH accomplishment for immunization for children in the country has gone down to less than 50 percent, she said.

The DOH is set to launch its supplemental immunization activities on October 26 that will continue until next year, where the DOH with the help of the local government units will go house-to-house to be able to reach and have the children vaccinated.

Vergeire said the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic contributed to the low turnout of immunization among children because many were not able to bring them to the clinic or health centers.

Aside from Covid-19, some parents do not allow their children to be vaccinated.

These may lead to a measles outbreak in 2021, Vergeire said.

“Ito pong tigdas na ito nakakamatay siya ‘no. Iyong kumplikasyon ng measles ay nakakamatay, maaring magkapulmonya ang bata, maaring magkaroon ng walang patid na pagtatae, maaari din pong magkaroon ng mga ear infections ‘no. Kaya kapag ganito po, atin pong pinapaalalahanan ang mga nanay dahil maari pong magkaroon ng ganitong kumplikasyon at maaring mag-lead sa pagkamatay ng mga bata (Measles can lead to death. Its complications are deadly, a child may have pneumonia, diarrhea, or ear infections. We are warning parents that if these happen, the child may have complications that may lead to death),” she said.

Vergeire said the DOH is giving out two vaccines. The first is at 9-months and the second shot is given at 12-months and this already comes with the mumps and rubella vaccine.

She assured parents that the vaccines being given by the DOH are proven and tested safe based on science and evidence and that these have been used by the department for decades.

“Wala po sila kailangang ipag-alala para sa kanilang mga anak. Ito po ay ligtas, ito po ay libre at ito po ay binibigay ng ating gobyerno para maprotektahan natin ang kanilang mga anak (There is nothing to worry about. This is safe, this is free and the government is giving this to protect your children),” Vergeire said. (PNA)