Mayor urges religious leaders to respect immunization program

BAGUIO CITY March 08 – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said that local officials will try to go out of their way to dialogue with leaders of some religious groups in the city for them to allow the children of their members to undergo the Japanese encephalitis and measles immunization programs of the health department to spare them from the serious negative effects of the identified dreaded illnesses.

The local chief executive and health officials raised concern over the continuous increase in the number of residents who contract measles for the first two months of this year which warrant the intensified conduct of measles vaccination in the city's 128 barangays.

Earlier, City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo informed the mayor that recorded measles cases in the city for this year reached 147 compared to the only 4 measles cases during the same period last year.

However, it was brought to Domogan's attention that there are some parents of children who belong to some religious groups who refuse to have their children vaccinated because it is against the supposed belief of their religion.

"We have to invite the leaders of the religious groups in the city to explain to them the serious negative effects of children who are not vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis and measles for them to reconsider their position against the government's vaccination program," Domogan stressed.

While it is true that the confidence of parents on the government's immunization program improved drastically since the reported Japanese encephalitis and measles outbreak in some parts of the country, he claimed that there are still a number of parents who refuse to hve their children undergo the required vaccination against the two identified dreaded illnesses that could eventually result to the death of individuals who did not undergo the complete dosage of the vaccinations.

Health officials and workers are now working round the clock to have children aged 9 to 59 months old undergo the required Japanese encephalitis vaccination and those aged 6 to 59 years old to undergo the measles vaccination that will be done in 2 dosages.

Domogan emphasized that parents should not allow the health condition of their children to be compromised by their failure to have them undergo the required vaccination because the 2 illnesses actually affect the brain of those who will contract the said illnesses which is therefore considered to be lifetime problems for the affected individuals.

The health department mandated health units nationwide to conduct massive immunization in their area of jurisdiction to ensure that young children will be spared from the serious negative impact of the illnesses to the lives of the young ones, thus, the need for parents to cooperative with the on-going house to house immunization being simultaneously undertaken around the archipelago.

Domogan directed health officials to identify the religious groups that do not allow their members to be vaccinated so that he will be able to dialogue with their leaders on the ongoing aggressive implementation of the government's massive immunization program.

By Dexter A. See

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