The World Health Organization in November 2018 warned that measles cases globally had jumped more than 30 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, in part because of children not being vaccinated.
In a news conference, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles on Friday said the government might face legal issues in court if it implemented mandatory immunization for children.
In Quezon City in Metro Manila, the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) has recorded a total of 108 measles cases, with eight reported deaths from January 1 to 26.
Most of the victims were children between three months and four years old.
Four hundred forty one cases were reported in metropolitan Manila, which spans 16 cities and one town, a 1,125 per cent increase from previous year.
However, due to the announcement of the measles outbreak on Thursday, February 25, Corpin said he was glad to announce that some parents had already availed of the free MMRV vaccination.
In addition to the NCR area, health officials are also closely monitoring the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa (Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Bicol region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Cordillera region, and Caraga for measles.
"I think it might be questioned before the courts somehow", he said.
On the other hand, the epidemiology department of San Lazaro, a referral hospital for infectious diseases, reported 1,629 measles patients, mostly children as young as 2 months old, as of Friday.
According to Convocar, government hospitals in the region were directed to establish "measles fast lanes" where suspected cases would be prioritized. The area has seen nine deaths since the beginning of the year.
But she reminded parents yesterday that immunity from diseases is "the best inheritance" they could leave their children.
Measles can be very unsafe for small children and babies.
"To the parents, let's not take the health of our children for granted". There is an outbreak of measles in the region.
Ejercito also called on the DOH to ensure availability of anti-measles vaccines for mass immunization and to make emergency procurement if necessary.
Authorities said vaccination rates in the Philippines have been declining for years, but also pointed to the recent controversy over the safety of the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.
Parents have been reluctant to have their children immunised at government health centres, after complications related to a dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.
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