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Leni urges parents: Get children vaccinated vs measles

Vice President Leni Robredo. ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday urged parents to have their children immunized against measles, stressing that the vaccine is safe.

Robredo made the appeal in a video posted on her Facebook page after the Department of Health (DOH) declared an outbreak of measles in Metro Manila, and several regions in Luzon and Visayas.

“Sa lahat ng mga magulang na nakikinig sa atin ngayon, nanawagan po ako sa inyo na bigyang pansin sa lalong madaling panahon ang pagpapabakuna ng ating mga anak at ng buong pamilya laban sa tigdas,” Robredo said.

“Subok na ng mahabang panahon ang bisa ng mga bakunang ito, at walang dahilan para hindi ito gumana kung kailan natin pinakakailangan,” she added.

Robredo also appealed to the public to have a renewed trust in vaccines to prevent the further spread of measles, as well as outbreaks of other diseases.

“Magtulungan po tayo na muling bumalik ang tiwala ng publiko sa wastong pagbabakuna, upang hindi magkaroon ng mas malawakang outbreak ang tigdas at iba pang nakahahawang sakit,” she said.

Parents attend to their children, mostly infants, being treated for measles at the pediatric ward of the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, February 07, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The vice president also expressed concern over reports of lack of space in hospitals as the number of patients, mostly children, affected by measles increased.

“Nababahala tayo sa mga balitang siksikan na ang mga batang may tigdas sa mga pagamutan,” she said.

Measles, caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract, can be passed through direct contact and through the air. Its complications include severe diarrhea, pneumonia, blindness, and even death, according to the Department of Health.

Symptoms of measles include fever, reddening of the eyes, cough and colds, and red rashes, the agency added.

Unvaccinated children aged 5 and below are at highest risk of the disease, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo earlier said. Measles vaccine is usually given to children aged 6 months and above, and parents of those younger must be extra cautious.

Low trust in the government’s immunization drive may be attributed to anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, which French drug maker Sanofi admitted could trigger more severe symptoms in some cases, Health Secretary Francisco Duque earlier said.