Immunization vs measles, rubella starts May 9 in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 04 May) — The city government is all set for the month-long supplemental immunization campaign for measles and rubella that will formally start on Wednesday, May 9.

Dr. Rochelle Oco, head of the City Health Office (CHO), said Friday their vaccination teams have finalized their preparations for the massive immunization drive in all of the city’s 26 barangays.

She said their vaccinators have conducted assessments and initial visits to prospective households ahead of the scheduled immunization activity, which will run until June 8.

She said children aged five years-old and below who were not vaccinated in the last four weeks are eligible for immunization.

“We will conduct house-to-house visits if necessary to ensure that all eligible children will be covered,” she said.

Oco said the city was chosen by the Department of Health (DOH) as site for the launching in Mindanao of the nationwide immunization drive.

She said DOH Secretary Francisco Duque and other officials have confirmed to attend the activity, which will kick off with a motorcade to help drum up support and participation from local residents.

The official urged parents and caregivers to allow their children to undergo vaccination for measles and rubella, which is also known as German measles, to provide them with immunity against infections.

She said the viral diseases could trigger complications like pneumonia and encephalitis that could lead to deaths.

These diseases could also affect adults but noted that children and infants are more vulnerable to infections and possible complications, she said.

Since January, CHO’s epidemiology and surveillance unit already recorded a total of 44 suspected measles cases, placing the city in the alert threshold based on its five-year data.

Raffy Piamonte, surveillance nurse, said three of these cases were confirmed as measles, which is considered endemic in the area.

Barangay Labangal recorded the most number of suspected measles cases with seven, followed by Barangays Fatima, Calumpang and Dadiangas West with five each.

Oco assured that the vaccines provided by the DOH are proven and tested as safe and long been used in the country without any problem.

She issued the assurance in the wake of the controversy on the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, which was blamed for a number of supposed deaths in Luzon and Metro Manila following vaccination.

“The possible complications from measles infection are more dangerous rather than the expected side effects that may be caused by the vaccine,” she said.

Oco added that parents and caregivers who have doubts may ask health workers regarding their concerns and proper guidance. (MindaNews)