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Editorial: Vaccinate!

The measles outbreak is becoming a real threat to the health of young children, said the City Health Office. The statistics are low: only 39.3%, or 12,784, out of 35,522 targeted public school Grade 1 and Grade 7 students were immunized. Even if there is a memorandum of agreement between the Department of Education and the CHO, the turn-out is disheartening. Dr. Julinda Acosta, CHO technical division chief, said the MOA is that DepEd will prepare consent forms and information guide to the parents while CHO is tasked to conduct the immunization.
Most of the consent forms were not filled out by parents, the CHO chief said. It goes without saying that the Dengvaxia vaccine scare is still fresh in the minds of the parents and guardians. Many of those who refer to the worldwide web find so much information for or against any form of vaccination. Without the proper tools to analyze the sites in cyberspace where they get the information, many just look for confirmation of their already set beliefs. This information stream influences the choices they make in many aspects of their lives, including the health of their children. Lacking the arena to question or validate the information with professionals and experts, those who are not discerning enough accept the information on cyberspace as gospel truth.
The health sector is opening its vaccination services to everyone. This is a good move as migration from rural to urban of families especially with natural calamities and conflict, have become the new norm. Opening health services enables parents with young children to avail of the services in their new home.
Information and education about the measles virus in schools is a good thing but the campaign should be heightened, measured by how much it is being discussed in school activities like debates, school publications or in the classrooms. Students have to be involved, they themselves should understand why they need to be vaccinated. If we believe young children, age 9 at least, can be held criminally liable, then there is no reason to believe these children have no awareness about health issues that affect their lives.

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