Gov’t should step up vaccination info campaign
The country is again the subject of global headlines with the news that polio has reemerged in the Philippines after almost two decades of being declared polio-free. This is another blow to the country’s debilitated health system, which has yet to recover from the declining trust in the Department of Health’s poor distribution of medicines, and the public’s fear of vaccinations.
I strongly believe that all parents have the purest intentions of doing what is best for their children. However, pure intentions thwarted by misinformation or lack of access to quality information results in poor decisions and actions. It is not helpful at all to simply put the blame on parents, when the problem of not vaccinating children is a systemic social issue. Despite the immense efforts of grassroots health workers in educating and re-educating the public on the effectiveness of vaccines, it is still disconcerting that the vaccination coverage rate is worsening.
It was only in February this year that a measles outbreak was declared, and it only took less than a year for the resurgence of yet another vaccine-preventable disease. Do we still have the luxury of time when children’s lives are on the line? What are we doing wrong? Why are many parents’ attitude toward vaccination still unchanged? Are we conveying the message in one language and in unison, that it’s critical for children to be vaccinated?
Communicating the need to vaccinate children should not only be expected from the Department of Health. This message should be prioritized by all government agencies, and across all levels. Vaccination messages should be geared toward protecting the community. When we vaccinate our kids, we help build the immunity of our family, our barangay and our nation.
JESSICA VIRNNA ANTIPOLO, [email protected]
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