Let us stop the blame game over the measles outbreak and focus on restoring Filipinos’ trust in vaccines – Pia Cayetano
House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano said instead of pointing fingers over who is to blame for the measles outbreak, national leaders should focus on restoring the trust of Filipino mothers in the government’s vaccination program for their children.
“Right now, the most important message – the only message – that we need to be hearing from everyone is to assure the mothers. Kumbinsihin ang mga nanay na magpabakuna ng mga anak,” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters in La Trinidad, Benguet on Saturday.
“As we are talking, habang nagtuturuan tayo, habang nagdedebate tayo, namamatay ang mga baby,” she further lamented.
Cayetano, the principal author and sponsor of the Mandatory Infants and Children Immunization Act (Republic Act 10152), stressed that there is an urgent need to end the “general feeling of distrust” among parents towards the government’s mandatory immunization program.
“When I heard the news na nagkaroon na ng outbreak [of measles], dino-double ko ngayon ‘yung time ko wherever I go to talk about it, to give the mothers that sense of confidence na kailangan nilang ipa-vaccinate ‘yung mga anak nila,” she said.
A study made by the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene revealed that in 2018, only 20 percent of Filipinos agreed to the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, significantly lower than the 80 percent recorded in 2015.
“Ibig sabihin, four in five mothers takot? Mahirap ‘yun. We have to rebuild the trust… because so many illnesses na hindi na natin nae-experience ay may danger na bumalik,” Cayetano said, adding that better access to information could help end the vaccine scare.
“Bakit natin iri-risk ‘yung buhay ng mga babies dahil sa misinformation or lack of knowledge? Nananawagan talaga ako, hindi lang sa mga nanay, kundi sa buong komunidad… Suportahan natin ang mga nanay para mabalik ang kumpyansa sa immunization,” she added.
The Taguig representative particularly called on the Department of Health and other concerned government agencies to initiate an effective information campaign to educate mothers and families of the benefits of vaccinating their children.#
Photo: Deputy Spekaer Pia Cayetano speaks before women’s groups including vegetable traders, strawberry farmers and Barangay Health Workers at the La Trinidad Trading Post in Benguet.