MANILA - Pediatricians are now urging parents to have their babies vaccinated against measles earlier than the recommended age, following the declaration of a measles outbreak in several areas in the Philippines.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Philippine Pediatric Society and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines urged parents to have their babies vaccinated at 6 months old.
The doctors advised parents to provide the first dose of measles-containing vaccine (monovalent measles, MR, MMR) earlier than the usual 9 months.
For children who received the first dose of measles-containing vaccine at age younger than 12 months, they can get two additional doses of MR or MMR, minimum of 4 weeks apart, beginning at 1 year old.
Children older than 12 months of age, and adults without a history of measles, not pregnant or planning to become pregnant in 4 weeks and with no allergic reaction to a previous dose of measles-containing vaccine, are advised to get a dose of monovalent measles, MR or MMR. A second dose of vaccine may also be given to complete the 2-dose schedule.
The Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed outbreaks of measles in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Central Luzon. The outbreak declaration has been expanded to Calabarzon, Western Visayas, and Central Visayas on Thursday.
Cases of measles, locally known as "tigdas," in NCR rose by 550 percent from January 1 to February 6, 2019 compared to the same period last year, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
The wider outbreak declaration aims to "strengthen surveillance of new cases and alert mothers and caregivers to be more vigilant," Duque told reporters.
As of Jan. 26, Calabarzon tallied 575 measles cases and 9 deaths, said DOH.
Meanwhile, Western Visayas had 104 cases and 3 deaths and Central Visayas had 71 cases and 1 death.
Metro Manila logged 441 cases and 5 deaths while Central Luzon had 192 cases and 4 deaths, DOH said.