Now is the best time to have your kids vaccinated

DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH)-Western Visayas officials led by Regional Director Marlyn Convocar urged parents to have their children vaccinated against measles. (Photo courtesy of Gail Momblan)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

FOLLOWING the declaration of a regional outbreak of the highly contagious measles, the Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas called on the parents to get their children vaccinated before it is too late.

“Now is the best time for the parents to have their children immunized. It is the parents’ obligation to have their children vaccinated and it is the right of the child to be protected from diseases. They should not be deprived of it,” DOH-6 director Marlyn Convocar emphasized.

More than wealth and good education, immunity is the best inheritance the parents can give to their children, Convocar added.

Dr. Renilyn Reyes, DOH-6 medical officer IV, explained that parents should ensure that their children get 95 percent protection against the disease through two shots of measles vaccine, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“First dose of vaccine against measles is given to children as early as nine months old. The second dose will be given when the child is either at 12 months old or before he or she reaches 15 months,” she said.

Since the outbreak was declared, DOH-6 observed that mothers and caregivers voluntarily seek immunization for their children in health centers.

Through their intensified information dissemination, DOH aims to bring back the confidence of parents to the national immunization program of the government following the hiatus of fear of getting their children immunized because of “fake news” and misinformation.

Convocar expressed his confidence on the media to disseminate the correct information.

“It’s the responsibility of the media to disseminate the right information and it is our commitment in the region to realize the appropriate immunization coverage,” Convocar said.

According to Convocar, “inter-sectoral” collaboration is needed to spread awareness on immunization.

“We have solved any outbreak of any cause that struck the region. Now, with the help of everybody, we are confident that we can also overcome this measles outbreak,” she said.

From January 1 to February 2 this year, 220 suspected measles cases were recorded in the region.

In Western Visayas, 10 of these are confirmed by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), three confirmed cases were from Antique, four were from Iloilo province, and three from Negros Occidental.

A total of three suspected measles deaths from Antique and Negros Occidental were also recorded.