Press Release
August 28, 2019

Top off P7.5 B immunization budget with funds to fight fake news

Government should "top off" the proposed P7.5 billion national immunization budget for 2020 with funds for an information campaign that will roll back fake news-triggered "vaccine hesitancy" among parents.

The proposal was made by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who said that life-saving vaccinations "should also be inoculated against wrong information."

"Allocating funds for the purchase of vaccines is no longer enough. It should be paired with a creative information drive that will assure parents that vaccines are safe and important," Recto said.

"Kailangan ng gamot laban sa haka-haka at maling impormasyon. We should not lose the info wars against the superstition that vaccines are bad for kids," Recto said.

Recto said the immunization rate for all types of vaccines for children plunged to a low 66% last year, from a target 95% which is the accepted minimum ideal rate.

"If you extrapolate this, hundreds of thousands of children who should be immunized were not," Recto said.

The result, he said, is the Philippines landing 3rd in the highest number of measles cases globally. The number of cases had tripled and deaths had quadrupled over the past 7 months.

"Di nakapagtataka kung ang national immunization rate sharply declined to just 40 percent in the early months of this year," Recto said.

Next year's budget for the national immunization program of the Department of Health is P7.543 billion, P5 million lower than this year's.

It aims to provide 2.7 million infants with vaccines against TB, Hepa B, Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Rubella, and Influenza.

Two million infants will also be given pneumonia vaccines.

For other children, 2.4 million Grade 1 and 1.9 million Grade 7 students will be given Tetanus-Diptheria and Measles-Rubella vaccines

The program also covers pregnant women, with 2.7 million getting a Tetanus vaccine.

Two million senior citizens will be administered Influenza vaccine, while 500,000 units of Pneumococcal vaccine will also be readied.

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