DOH meets half of vaccination target, but measles still booming
The Department of Health on Thursday said it has met nearly half of its target of vaccinating 3.7 million children against measles, but cases of the highly contagious disease were still on the rise.
From March 1 to 2, the agency tallied 1,411 new measles cases, majority in regions grappling with an outbreak of measles, including Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon.
This brings the total number of measles cases since Jan. 1 to 16,349, with 261 people succumbing to the disease, the DOH said.
Of the total, 9,975 were unvaccinated while about 500 only received one dose of the vaccine, it added.
Each measles patient can pass the diseases to 17 to 18 unvaccinated people through sneezing or coughing, said DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo.
The DOH has sought help from the national police to mount its immunization drive in far flung areas, he told radio DZMM.
The measles outbreak, he added, may abate by the end of March.
A health scare due to anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia spawned a drop in immunization coverage in the country to 40 percent last year, from an average 70 percent in recent years.
Dengvaxia can trigger more severe symptoms for those who have not had dengue, its French maker Sanofi Pasteur disclosed in December 2017, prompting the government to stop the sale of the drug and its inclusion in the immunization drive.
DZMM, 7 March 2019