MANILA - Government should fund an information drive to combat misinformation on vaccines on top of the proposed P7.5-billion national immunization budget for 2020, a lawmaker said Wednesday.
There should be a "creative information drive" to reassure parents and children that vaccines are safe, said Sen. Ralph Recto, as he noted that the Philippines had the third highest number of measles cases globally.
"We should not lose the info wars against the superstition that vaccines are bad for kids," Recto said in a statement.
Low vaccination rates have been blamed in part on the public scare over the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, which was recalled in late 2017 due to safety concerns.
Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo also said earlier that the "setting is ripe" for the recurrence of polio in the Philippines due to low vaccination coverage and poor sanitation in some areas.
Sen. Richard Gordon said the public should trust the government's immunization program.
“People should not forgo immunization because it is a proven tool for controlling and even eradicating infectious diseases. It is a very necessary and effective public health intervention," Gordon said in a statement.
The health department’s budget for immunization next year is P7.543 billion, according to Recto.
It aims to provide 2.7 million infants with vaccines against tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, rubella, and influenza.
Two million infants will also be given pneumonia vaccines.
Some 2.4 million Grade 1 and 1.9 million Grade 7 students will be given tetanus-diphtheria and measles-rubella vaccines.
Some 2.7 million pregnant women will also be given tetanus vaccine.
Two million senior citizens will be administered with influenza vaccine, while 500,000 units of pneumococcal vaccine will also be readied.