Duterte orders vigorous campaign on children immunization amid measles outbreak
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a vigorous campaign on the immunization of children in the wake of the measles outbreak in Metro Manila and Central Luzon.
This as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday night in Malacanang, which Duterte presided over, complained about the negative effect on the government's immunization campaign by the alleged negative publicity created by Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta over the anti-dengue Dengvaxia vaccine and for impleading him in the case, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
"The President ordered a vigorous campaign to promote the complete immunization for children. I think one of the reasons why we have an outbreak of measles is because the lack of immunization on the part of children," he said in a press briefing.
He said Duque mentioned during the Cabinet meeting that some people were reluctant to undergo immunization due to the Dengvaxia scandal.
"They became afraid in other words that's why they (DOH) is finding difficulty now," he said.
The DOH has declared measles outbreak in the NCR and Central Luzon due to the increasing number of cases in the past weeks.
Asked if Acosta should be blamed for the reluctance of some parents to have their children vaccinated, Panelo said the PAO chief was apparently being passionate about her advocacy.
But he added, "The PAO chief is responsible enough to know her action would result into discouraging people or children or parents to have themselves immunize."
Thus, he said the Palace would leave it up to Acosta if she would stop from blaming Dengvaxia as the cause of death of several children.
But the DOH reportedly said the death of some children could not be attributed to Dengvaxia.
PAO has included Duque in the complaint over the Dengvaxia mess, which started during the Aquino administration.
The House committee on good government and public accountability earlier recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against former President Benigno Aquino III, former Health Secretary Janette Garin, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and several others for the alleged violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and technical malversation over the multi-billion peso purchase of Dengvaxia vaccine. Celerina Monte/DMS