The global scare against vaccination has made it more challenging for advocacy groups to eradicate preventable diseases such as Hepatitis B.
“There are 780,000 dying every year due to complications of Hepatitis B that is a fully preventable disease,” Yellow Warriors Society of the Philippines–Davao president Ryan Gersava said.
According to Gersava, available vaccines will provide 90% protection to people who are inoculated against it.
The Department of Health, through the City Health Office, includes Hepatitis B in the mandatory basic immunization administered to public schools. However, according to Gersava, the global issue against vaccination posed a great threat to advocacy groups against viral diseases.
“The Dengvaxia issue actually lowered the confidence of many Filipinos (but) this is not an isolated problem to the Philippines. This is a global health problem because the trust towards vaccine is declining rapidly,” he said. “With this, our efforts campaigning for hepatitis vaccination are affected tremendously.”
Gersava noted that misconceptions about vaccines are spread globally.
“Right now, individual are scared that vaccines are the new bio-war,” he said. “This is a very difficult to battle for us especially that you can never interfere and force a person to get vaccinated if it is against his will. That is why more education is needed to address this.”
The group has led an awareness campaign on the National Liver Cancer and Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month in a major shopping mall in the city. Gersava also noted that two persons per minute globally die due to hepatitis complications. In the Philippines, 1 out of 7 adult Filipinos aged 20-49 years old tests positive to hepatitis and 95% of these people are not aware they carry it.
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