Three senatorial candidates said that the government must launch an intensified information drive promoting vaccination amid a spike in measles cases in the country.
Lawyers Larry Gadon and Dan Roleda, and labor leader Leody de Guzman all agreed that the government should step up its public information campaign on vaccination to encourage parents to get their children completely immunized.
“The trouble is, ‘yung mga mothers kasi, ang iba sa kanila o marami sa kanila, akala nila ‘pag natapos na ‘yung DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus), okay na. O ‘yung iba naman, after the second batch ngvaccines, pagkatapos ng second batch, okay na, tapos na lahat,” Gadon said during CNN Philippines’ fourth Senatorial Forum on Sunday.
[Translation: The trouble is mothers, some of them or many of them, they think that once their children get the DPT vaccine, it’s already okay. Meanwhile, others, after the second batch of vaccines, they think that’s it’s okay, that it’s done.]
Roleda also wants the Education and Interior departments to be involved in the information drive so it can be expanded to barangays, households and schools.
But for De Guzman, aside from telling people of the benefits of vaccination, he also wants the government to finally settle whether the controversial anti-dengue Dengvaxia vaccine was indeed the culprit behind the deaths of hundreds of children who received it.
“Sana ay magkaroon ng klarong judgment na sa doon Dengvaxia kung ‘yan ba ay totoong nakasama ng todo at naging resulta ng pagkamatay ng mga bata or nagamit lang, napulitika ‘yung bagay na ‘yun,” he said.
[Translation: Hopefully there would be a clear judgment on whether Dengvaxia is the reason for the death of these children or was just used for politics.]
The panic that ensued after Sanofi-Pasteur, the French pharmaceutical firm behind Dengvaxia, has been blamed by health experts for the drop in immunization rates in the Philippines.
The Justice department has filed reckless imprudence resulting in homicide raps against former government officials and Sanofi Pasteur executives in connection with the vaccine, but Senate Blue Ribbon committee chair Richard “Dick” Gordon said there is not enough evidence to back this charge.
Experts have yet to find a definitive link between Dengvaxia and the deaths of children who have received it.
The Health department said that measles cases have been reported in nearly every province in the country as of February.