The Department of Health (DOH) XI and the City Health Office will conduct an intensified school-based immunization program amidst rapid increase of measles cases in the region.
The program aims to vaccinate 250,217 pupils in the city from Kindergarten to Grade 7 within the year. Grade 1 and Grade 7 will be given Measles-Rubella and Tatanus-Diphteria while Kinder and Grades 2 to 6 will be given Measles-Rubella only.
Although the number of cases may have increased, DOH National Immunization manager Dr. Janice Olavides said although there is still no reason to declare a measles outbreak as the numbers are 13-percent lower than the previous year.
“Taas kayo ang refusal [rate] last year. Ang amoang accomplishment lang sa Davao City kay almost 40-percent compared to previous years, 2016, 2017. Last 2016, 80-percent ang among nabukanahan. 2017, 60-percent na lang. Last year, 39-percent, almost 40-perent. That’s why dili ma likayan na magka outbreak ta kung ingana man lang gani atung status. Daku ug possibility na magka outbreak. Last year nag outbreak ang Davao city,” said City Health Office (CHO) National Immunization Program coordinator Eldy B. Sombilon.
Olavides revealed that Talomo Central, Talomo North, Buhangin and Agdao districts are among measles hotspots in Davao City.
The Health Department and LGUs have conducted orientations to parent-teacher association (PTA) in various public schools in the region to address issues behind the immunization stigma. Olavides said that based on the feedback of the LGUs, there are a lot of parents who allowed their children to be vaccinated.
“Due to the recent measles outbreak [in] the Philippines, daghan na kaayog mama ang nagpa bakuna sa ilang mga bata age less than 50 months old during the March campaign. As of now, we are expecting also na daghan na pud mama na musugot pabakunahan ang ilang mga bata for this school based campaign,” Olivades said.
Olivades also mentioned that they won’t allow the child to be immunized without the requisite of a written parent’s consent and if the child has already completed two doses of Measles-Rubella.
DOH has recorded 1,069 measles cases in Davao region alone, 65 percent of which has no vaccination history. The department has recorded 15 deaths due to measles since the start of 2019.
Davao City has the highest recorded measles cases with 444 infected individuals.
The school-based immunization program will take off on August 2 at the Sta. Ana Elementary School, Davao City. Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III is expected to witness the launching.