LUNA, Apayao – Mothers and guardians of around 158 children aged 6 to 59 months old of Dagupan here did not mind seeing their children cry enduring the pain of being vaccinated as for them, the protection against the deadly Japanese encephalitis (JE) is more of their concern.
The Municipal Health Office of Luna in coordination with the Provincial Health Office and the Apayao Provincial Health Office (PHO), launched the Japanese encephalitis vaccination and project “Baby Come Back to Bakuna” or the so called “Oplan Culex” on March 5 at the Dagupan Brgy. Hall attended by almost all parents/guardians who have children within the target age.
In support of the program, Mayor Josephine Bangsil together with the Sangguniang Bayan members of Luna joined the launching with the mayor appeasing the apprehension of the mothers by assuring them that the vaccines for JE are safe.
“Nabayag da nga us-usaren daytoy nga vaccinen, isu nga haan kayo madanagan (they are using the vaccine for a long time already, so do not be afraid,” Bangsil told the crowd ad she also thanked the PHO and all stakeholders for their full support to the program.
Cordillera DOH Regional Director Dr. Amelita Pangilinan earlier spearheaded the launching of JE vaccination in Conner, Apayao on February 26, who, together with the Regional National Immunization Program Coordinator Joyce Rillorta visited all the district hospitals in Apayao after attending the inauguration of the Regional Evacuation Center at Payanan, Luna, Apayao.
According to Ms. Charlyn Tagabing of the PHO, the visits of Pangilinan and Rillolarta aimed at inspecting the readiness of hospitals and their equipment to cater to the needs of measles or JE patients considering that nearby Regions 1 and 2 have already recorded outbreak of such diseases.
The launching of the JE and measles vaccination happened earlier in Kabugao as there were reported cases of measles. “Kabugao was the first to launch the outbreak response immunization (ORI) procedure to contain the possible outbreak,” Tagabing stressed.
Based on statistics provided by the PHO, there were recorded six measles suspects in 2018 which increased in 2019 to 20 in both periods of January 1 to March 5. Meanwhile, there were 2 laboratory-confirmed recorded JE in 2015 who are from Conner and Kabugao and in 2018 there were three coming from Calanasan, Flora and Sta. Marcela.
National Immunization Program Provincial Coordinator Cheryl Reyes assured to continue an intensified campaign in the vaccination of children in Apayao to protect them from the dreaded measles and JE.
As per reports from DOH, there is a considerable decrease of children being vaccinated not because of lack of vaccines but rather attributed to the erosion of trust in immunization fueled by the dengvaxia controversy.
By GERRIAHZON S. SEBASTIAN