• DOH may have some shortcomings in keeping parents informed about immunization program of the gov’t

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    A LAWMAKER has expressed concern over the reported declining number of the children getting free vaccine and booster shots which could have prevented the measles outbreak currently affecting the country.

    Senator Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, a member of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, at the same called on the Department of Health (DOH) to step up its information campaign about the importance and the availability of vaccines to the parents in order for them to have their children vaccinated.

    Poe said that the report about the dismal outcome of the government’s vaccination program may have something to do with the lack of an effective information drive to enlighten parents the importance of vaccine to the well-being of their children.

    “The very low immunization percentage last year and the continuing decline on the compliance rate for measles vaccine shows that the government need to let the parents know that the government is providing free immunization,” the senator said in a text message sent to the Manila times.

    The Times earlier reported that only 6 percent of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines were given to children in 2013 based on the data provide by the DOH.

    This is because some parents failed to bring their children for their needed vaccination shots being given for free by the local health centers.

    The DOH last year has allotted at least P1.9 billion for the full vaccination coverage of eligible children 0-11 months for BCG (Bacillus CalmetteGuarine), DPT (Diptheria Pertussis Tetanus), OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine), Hepatitis B, Measles, Tetanus Toxoid, Measles-Rubella, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, and rotavirus.

    Aside from the measles vaccines being given to children under one-year old, DOH also provide booster shots for 12-15 month old children to further protect against the disease.

    But according to the health department only 45 percent of the total available booster shots were used last year.

    Poe said that the immunization program of the government will not be successful if the public is not aware that it exists.

    “We need an extensive information campaign on the importance of immunization so that parents will not take it for granted,” she added. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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