DOH Bicol boosts immunization campaign

Immunization Campaign press conference
Photo from DOH Bicol
LEGAZPI CITY--To control and prevent an increase in the measles cases in Bicol, the Department of Health Center for Health and Development (DOH CHD) Bicol, under the initiative of the Health Promotion Unit, conducted a series of press conferences in the provinces of Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon last month.

Data from January to November 2018 shows that the measles cases increased to 314 with 85 new cases since September of the same year. Masbate holds the highest record among the other provinces with 139 cases as of date, followed by Camarines Norte – 73, Camarines Sur – 71, Sorsogon – 15, Albay – 13, and Catanduanes - 3. The DOH attributes the rise of cases to the public’s resistance to vaccination.

The DOH has also recorded a total 10 deaths from measles now, 5 from Camarines Norte, 4 from Masbate and 1 from Albay. The Provincial Health Offices have confirmed that all of which are children who have not received immunization against measles.

“It is very sad to see lives lost to measles because measles is a disease preventable disease. Most of the parents we have interviewed said they were too busy or too scared of the possible side effects of the vaccines. The only thing scary is the very real complications of measles,” said Dr. Monrey Isaiah Mancilla, National Immunization Program Coordinator of DOH CHD Bicol.

“What we want everyone to understand here is that there’s no reason to be scared of these vaccines because we have been using the same MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccines since 2010 and upon close monitoring, we have not recorded adverse effects,” added Mancilla.

Currently, the DOH has only achieved 58% of the 95% immunization which is why key health strategies are being employed such as routine measles vaccination combined with mass immunization campaigns, along with fixed house to house immunization. The DOH is also working on lobbying to draft provincial ordinances to further strengthen its immunization campaign.//nsau