Low measles-rubella immunization rate in NCR children linked to COVID pandemic

(L-R) Mandaluyong City Health Officer Dr. Alexander Sta. Maria, Mayor Abalos Chief of Staff Bro. Jimmy Isidro, DOH-MMCHD Regional Director Dr. Corazon I. Flores, and DOH Asec. Elmer G. Punzalan grace the MR-SIA kick-off activity at the Plainview Elementary School on Friday, January 29. (Contriibuted photo)

CALOOCAN CITY, Jan. 30 (PIA) -- The chief of the Department of Health-Metro Manila Center for Health Development (DOH-MMMCHD) on Friday said measles-rubella vaccinations may have taken a back seat to COVID concerns and this prompted them to intensify their supplemental immunization activity.

During the launch of the Measles-Rubella Supplemental Immunization Activity or “MR-SIA” in the National Capital Region (NCR) held at Plainview Elementary School in Mandaluyong City, DOH-MMCHD Regional Director Corazon Flores said the COVID-19 pandemic may have diverted the public’s attention away from other potentially severe infectious diseases such as measles-rubella, especially in low- and middle-income families in NCR, resulting in delayed childhood vaccinations for these ailments.

“Sa nakaraan na mga buwan at taon nagkaroon tayo ng measles outbreak at outbreak ng COVID-19. At dahil gusto natin pagtulung-tulungan ito, sabay tayo nagkaroon ng regional launching kasama ang Central Luzon, CALABARZON [Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon] Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas,” Dr. Flores said.

“Mahalaga ang kaligtasan at mahalaga ang kalusugan ng ating mga anak. Kaya kami ay sama sama nandito upang i-ensure na ligtas ang ating mga chikiting laban sa tigdas at laban sa rubella,” she added.

The kick-off ceremony signals the start of the MR-SIA campaign to provide immunization and protection against measles and rubella for children ages 9 to 59 months from February 1 to 28, 2021.

The event, attended by DOH Assistant Secretary Elmer G. Punzalan, Mandaluyong City Health Officer Dr. Alexander Sta. Maria, Mayor Abalos Chief of Staff Bro. Jimmy Isidro, several healthcare workers, and few parents along with their children, aims to achieve the widest vaccination coverage in all target areas.

Health officials who were present during the event demonstrated proper hand washing techniques to show the importance of this practice in any provision of health services.

During the kick-off event in Metro Manila, Dr. Flores and Dr. Sta. Maria administered measles-rubella vaccine to the five pre-selected children who were accompanied by their mothers.

The center for health development reminded the public that vaccination will be conducted in health centers and identified vaccination posts.

Basic health and safety protocols for COVID-19 prevention will be strictly observed in these facilities at all times, the DOH-MMCHD added. (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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