Include measles in vax drive – Go

Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go urged the government to step up its immunization efforts against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases to prevent future outbreaks.

Go noted that while the nationwide vaccination campaign against Covid-19 is ongoing, health officials must also make sure that the government does not divert attention away from other diseases that may be prevented by vaccines, particularly measles and polio.

Low immunization rates for these diseases could lead to outbreaks, the senator said.

According to the Department of Health, the World Health Organization advised intensifying routine measles vaccination in the Philippines after discovering that nearly a million children in the country had not received even one dose of the vaccine in the previous two years, leaving them vulnerable to transmission.

Out of its immunization target of 95 percent, the health department reported that only 62.9 percent of children and infants in the Philippines had received all of their vaccinations for diseases that can be prevented by vaccines.

Meanwhile, nearly three million children lacked the measles vaccine. The DoH noted that the rates are low and could result in a measles outbreak by next year if the country does not act.

Go then reiterated that the whole government must work together to solve the problem. He also urged the government to deal with underlying issues like parental resistance to vaccinations and pandemic-related restrictions that prevented parents and their children from leaving their homes.

Considering how the pandemic became an eye-opener for the government to strengthen its healthcare system, Go refiled his bills that seek to establish the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines.

The CDC is envisioned to be the lead agency for developing communicable disease control and prevention initiatives. It will be primarily responsible for controlling the introduction and spread of infectious diseases in the country. Some of its primary functions will include policy and standards development, disease detection and surveillance, data collection and analytics, public health communications and research and evidence synthesis.

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