Press Release
February 7, 2018

...says benefits still outweigh risks

Senator Nancy Binay appealed to parents to have their children vaccinated for preventable illnesses like polio, pertussis, measles, tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis-B.

Binay expressed her concern after the Department of Health (DOH) reported that immunization rates are significantly down from previous years since the government suspended the sale and distribution of the Dengvaxia vaccine in December. "Nakikiusap po tayo sa mga magulang na huwag matakot at pabakunahan ang kanilang mga anak," Binay said. "Bilang isang ina, naiintindihan po natin ang pagaalinlangan ng ilan sa ating mga kababayan, pero masdelikado po kung hindi natin papabakunahan ang ating mga anak. The chances of acquiring diseases are higher - the benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risks," she added. According to DOH, immunization coverage of Filipino children, dropped to 60% from the ideal 85% to 90%. Binay bemoaned how the Dengvaxia paranoia has affected even routine programs like the health department's deworming program which had had "very low" turnouts.

"Nakakalungkot kasi nadadamay po nitong isyu ang mga magagandang programa ng Department of Health na napatunayan nang ligtas at kailangan ng mga bata," she added.

In November 2017, French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur announced that dengue vaccine Dengvaxia posed a risk for people administered with the vaccine without prior infection.

The Senate, House of Representatives, Public Attorney's Office (PAO), National Bureau of Investigation, and University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital are conducting independent investigations into the Dengvaxia controversy.

The DOH's Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) targets six vaccine-preventable diseases like tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and measles.

Vaccines under the EPI are birth doses for hepatitis B and BGC, oral poliovirus vaccine, pentavalent vaccine (antimeasles, measles, mumps, rubella) and tetanus toxoid.

The DOH has a budget of P107.3 billion for 2018 - P7.43 billion of which will be used for public vaccination program that targets full immunization of 2.7 million infants. All 2.7 million infants will be administered Japanese Encephalitis vaccine while some 1.4 million infants are set to be given pneumococcal vaccine.

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