The Philippines reported a 367 percent increase in measles cases last year as vaccination rates plummet throughout the archipelago. Much of the drop in vaccinations are linked to the Dengvaxia scare in the country.

Image/ via wikimedia commons
Image/ via wikimedia commons

The drop vaccination rates has prompted President Rodrigo R. Duterte to encourage parents not to let the scare over the controversial anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, stop them from getting their children vaccinated for other infectious diseases.

“I urge the parents in this community to have your children vaccinated because vaccination is an effective way to prevent diseases and its complications,” President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said during the groundbreaking ceremony of the new site of San Lorenzo Ruiz General Hospital in Panghulo, Malabon City.

With a dire warning, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III added, “Last year, we have observed a 40% drop in our vaccination rate and we expect a rise in the number of vaccine-preventable diseases in the near future.”

One example of dropping vaccination rates is the Western Visayas where 211 measles cases were reported last year.

That number is 21,000 percent higher than that in 2017 which had only one case.

From Oct. 22 to Nov. 23 last year, DOH conducted a measles-rubella vaccination campaign in 25 local government units (LGUs) in Western Visayas which high measles cases. The target was 339,181 children but the number of children vaccinated was only 195,356 (58 percent).

Parents knew the importance of measles vaccination but they were overcome by their fear.