Philippines launches measles immunisation

According to official data, of the 70 who have died from measles in the Philippines , nearly 80 per cent were not vaccinated.

Philippines authorities have made passionate appeals for parents to vaccinate their children as the government launched a widespread immunisation drive to fight a deadly measles outbreak.

At least 70 deaths have occurred since the beginning of the year but the outbreak intensified last week and over 4300 people were reported to have taken ill with symptoms of measles, a highly-contagious disease transmitted through direct contact or air.

The authorities have put five regions on alert, although the highest number of affected people has been reported in Metro Manila.

An intensive vaccination program has been launched in Metro Manila and other affected areas to prevent the spread of the disease, which infects the respiratory system and can result in complications such as severe diarrhoea, pneumonia, blindness and even death.

The Department of Health on Tuesday said it has formed a task force to beef up the immunisation program to urgently address the rapid increase of measles.

Regional health offices are collaborating with the management of shopping malls, churches and food chain-stores to set up measles vaccine posts starting next week to make the vaccine more accessible to people.

The outbreak of the disease is being attributed to the lack of vaccination in recent years, as around 2.5 million Filipino children under the age of five have not received the necessary immunisation shots.

According to official data from the Epidemiology Bureau, of the 70 who have died from measles, nearly 80 per cent were not vaccinated.

Many Philippine parents have refused to vaccinate their children after a scandal around dengue vaccination Dengvaxia that was used in the country between 2014 and 2017.

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