Press Release
February 12, 2019


PAMPANGA--Senator Sonny Angara is urging parents to have their children immunized against measles at any government health center, saying immunization is the best protection against the highly contagious disease that has so far affected more than 130 people in the province, including three who have died due to complications.

Pampanga has recorded the second highest number of measles cases in Central Luzon with 136, after Bulacan with 144 cases, according to the Department of Health (DOH). Other provinces hit by the outbreak are Tarlac, 89; Bataan, 27; Zambales, 23; and Nueva Ejica, 18.

According to Angara, one of the authors of the Universal Health Care Bill that aims to give all-inclusive health coverage for Filipinos, measles vaccines are readily available for free in rural health clinics across the country.

"We are calling on parents to avail of the free vaccination at any barangay health center as measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious health complications, including infections of the lungs and brain, and even death," Angara said.

The DOH recently declared a measles outbreak in Central Luzon, as data showed that a total of 437 cases and six deaths had been reported in the region from January 1 to February 7 this year, compared to only 32 cases with no death during the same period in 2018.

Aside from the three fatalities in Pampanga, there was also one measles death each in Bulacan, Bataan and Zambales.

Nationwide, over 4,000 people have contracted measles in just one month, and the health department attributed the surge to failure to get the crucial preliminary and booster vaccine shots. It added that those who died due to measles had no history of vaccination.

The DOH said more children suffered from the disease because their parents refused to bring them to health centers to avail of free vaccines primarily due to the Dengvaxia scare that has undermined public confidence in the government's immunization program.

"Pinaaalalahanan po natin ang ating mga magulang na bakuna pa rin ang pinakamabisang panlaban sa tigdas. Wala po tayong kailangang gawin kundi dalhin ang ating mga anak sa mga health center kung saan libre ang bakuna," Angara said.

Measles can cause life-threatening pneumonia and brain inflammation, middle-ear infection, severe diarrhea, and sometimes death. However, it can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine.

The vaccine is given as part of a combination vaccine, called the MMR vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

Babies aged 6 to 11 months should be administered their first vaccine shot. At 12 to 18 months, they should get vaccination a second time.

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