Filipino parents urged to immunise children amid measles outbreak

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The capital region of Metro Manila has seen 441 cases, with five deaths, CNN Philippines reports, while many other areas across the country have also been affected.

The regional health office on Friday, February 8, issued advisories on all provincial and city health offices, as well as National Immunization Program coordinators to immediately conduct a mass immunization against measles, including oral polio vaccines, to all children.

There have been 1,813 measles cases and 26 deaths in Philippines as of January 26, according to the Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau.

"These regions need to scale up their response against measles and have all unvaccinated children vaccinated against measles, a proven effective and safe measure to further stop its spread, " he said.

The DOH said there was "low vaccine coverage because of the Dengvaxia scare". The scare started in late 2017, shortly after the government, then under President Benigno Aquino III, gave Dengvaxia to some 837,000 students as part of a public immunization campaign.

Public health advocates opposing the programme warned at the time that the vaccine could lead to deadlier strains of the disease.

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"Learning from the UNICEF family about the outbreak of the measles, you know, this is why it's very important to have proper immunization", Curtis said during an event by UNICEF.

Last year, there were 245 confirmed from out of the 1,052 suspected measles cases.

They encourage members of local medical societies to collaborate with the city, municipal or provincial health office, in organizing community based regular vaccine mission activities; and spread awareness in the community about measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

The sharp increase in measles cases and deaths prompted senators to call on the public to get children vaccinated.

Officials of the the Department of Health in Western Visayas are urging government-run hospitals to dedicate a "measles room".

Convocar said they also prioritize the implementation of "measles fast lanes". The Health department said the Philippines saw a four-fold jump in measles cases from 4,000 cases in 2017 to 21,000 cases previous year. "I can not be blaming her for that", he said. "While it is the primary duty of parents to protect their children's health, the government, through the Department of Health, should not be complacent in promoting complete immunization".

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