DAVAO CITY – Allaying fears brought about by the 2017 Dengvaxia controversy, the Department of Health in Davao Region (DOH-11) on Thursday appealed to parents to have their children immunized in the July school vaccination program.

Dr. Janis Olavides, DOH-11 national immunization program manager, was reacting to statistics showing the significant decrease in proportion of city schoolchildren who were immunized, from a high of 80% in 2016, dropping to 60% the year after, and only 39% last year out of the 250,000.

Next month however, DOH-11 officials are targeting a vaccination rate of 95% amidst this seeming resistance.

Back in 2017, Sanofi Pasteur, the maker of the vaccine used in the school-based dengue program, announced that their anti-dengue vaccine poses higher risks to people who receive it with no previous dengue infection.

“We understand the fear of the parents that’s why we let them secure parent’s consent before we will give them the vaccine,” Olavides said.

Moreover, the DOH is pushing for educating the parents on the safety of vaccines by having a team from DOH, Department of Education, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, conduct an orientation in various barangays in the region.

Meanwhile, Dr. Raquel Montejo, DOH 11-local health division chief, revealed that a total of 1,069 cases of measles were recorded in Davao Region during the first semester of 2019, wherein 25 led to death.

The free school-based immunization program targets students from Kindergarten to Grade 7 with measles-rubella vaccine while those from Grades 1 and 7 will be administered tetanus-diphtheria booster doses. (Jojo Mangahis)