DOH fears possible shortage of anti-measles vaccines

Report by Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 08 2014 08:37 PM | Updated as of Jan 09 2014 08:06 AM

MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) fears a possible shortage of anti-measles vaccines as more and more parents continue to avail of vaccination for their children amid the measles outbreak in parts of Metro Manila.

Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said that because of the sudden increase in interest from parents and the massive nationwide vaccination campaign this coming September, the DOH is now procuring more vaccines than necessary.

But he clarified that parents do not have to wait until September since anti-measles vaccines are still available in barangay health centers.

"Ang pwede pa nating problemahin eh baka magkulang. Pero sa ngayon hindi siya kulang," Tayag said.

In the past two months alone, 20,000 children were vaccinated in 148 barangays.

This, as the DOH extended the qualified age from 9 months to 2 years old to 9 months to 5 years old.

Meanwhile, advocates from the Alliance of Health Workers, Health Alliance for Democracy, and Kilos Bayan para sa Kalusugan protested in front of the DOH office on Wednesday.

They slammed the DOH for allegedly putting the blame on parents who were not responsible enough to have their children vaccinated against measles.

They also said the health department's programs against measles have failed.

"Hindi seryoso yung gobyerno na sugpuin itong tigdas. Lahat ng programa nila ay nabigo," said Albert Pascual of Kilos Bayan para sa Kalusugan.

The DOH, for its part, said it is not blaming anyone for the measles outbreak in parts of Metro Manila.

It said it would rather focus on efforts to have children vaccinated in health centers or through door-to-door visits.