Senator Dick Gordon lauded the efforts of both the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Red Cross to close the immunization gap, amid the vaccination scare caused by the controversial anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.

Gordon, also chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, said the health department is gaining ground to regain the public’s trust in its immunization program amid the measles outbreak affecting different parts of the country.

“The health department is gaining ground to regain the public’s trust in its immunization program.”

“I am glad that through our efforts, both the DOH and the Red Cross, we are narrowing down the vaccination gap, which was made wider by the debacle of the Dengvaxia vaccine. I’m glad that the people’s belief in vaccines is now being restored,” the seasoned legislator said.

The veteran lawmaker cited a report that some 9,394 children have been vaccinated from February 16 to March 5 through the community-based vaccination program launched by the Red Cross, in coordination with the DOH.

Data from the DOH Epidemiology Bureau showed that there were 11,459 measles cases recorded in the country between January 1 to February 21 this year.

It reported a total of 189 deaths, with Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (Calabarzon region) had the most number of deaths at 61. It was followed by the National Capital Region (NCR) with 52 deaths, Central Luzon with 25 deaths and Eastern Visayas with 16 deaths.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the department, in coordination with other government agencies, the Philippine Red Cross and other medical societies, is doing its best to bring back birth immunity nationwide to 95 percent.

“So, this is where we are and hopefully we see a reverse of the outbreak trend, but it is not going to happen soon it may probably take another four to six weeks. I think about first week of April,” Duque said.

“Hopefully we see a reverse of the outbreak trend.” 

The health chief added that around 462,000 children, or 30 percent of the population in the National Capital Region, have been vaccinated, saying the vaccination hesitancy level nationwide is slowly going down.

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