Filipino Parents Against Vaccination: The Aftermath
The controversy surrounding Dengvaxia has set the public perception on vaccines at an all-time low.
The vaccination rate for life-threatening diseases such as measles, polio, tetanus and diphtheria have plummeted to 60% this February 2018. This figure is certainly a far cry from February 2017’s 85-90% vaccination rate. Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo stated that “before, children would come to our health centers for their scheduled vaccines. Now we have to seek the parents out and convince them.”
The result of this significant withdrawal is quickly materializing in the form of measles outbreaks. Since the beginning of 2018, 4 measles outbreaks were announced in separate Filipino regions: Davao City (222 cases last January), Zamboanga City (166 cases last February), Taguig City (7 cases this March), and Negros Occidental (21 cases this March).
The last recorded measles outbreak in the Philippines was in 2014.
Other preventable diseases such as rabies and polio may make a critical comeback within the year.
Growing Distrust to Our Health System
DOH’s current state of infamy brought by the Dengvaxia debacle has casted a wide shadow of doubt among the Filipino people. As a result, a lot of parents became hesitant to entrust their children’s well-being to a health agency that seemingly takes the youth’s health for granted.
But it should be stressed that the necessity for vaccination goes beyond politics. As one of modern mankind’s most important invention, vaccinations have enabled us to eradicate diseases that killed millions before. The recent uproar and rejection of these vital vaccines could reverse our significant strides towards a safer and healthier environment for our children.
It could even surpass the harm done by Dengvaxia itself.