Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Monday, February 1, launched the annual free vaccination program against measles and rubella at the Bulwagan, in Manila City Hall.

The program, entitled “Chikiting Ligtas sa dagdag bakuna kontra Tigdas at Rubella,” aims to vaccinate children in Manila aged 9 months to 59 months from February 1 to 28.

The program, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, RELIEF International, and Healthy Philippines, is an annual simultaneous nationwide vaccination program of the Philippine government, together with Manila and other local government units (LGUs).

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, Manila is encouraging the public to join immunization programs that would defend their children from vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and rubella.

The Manila City government is also now working on the implemention of the COVID-19 vaccination program, which is hoping and expecting to start within February once the vaccines arrive in the country.

Aside from Mayor Domagoso, among those who attended the launching are Vice Mayor Dr. Maria Sheilah “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan and Manila Health Department (MHD) Acting City Health Officer Dr. Arnold Pangan, MD, RSW, as well as Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Division Chief Dr. Rosalina Tan.

Domagoso said the city government has been vigilant in preventing measles, rubella, as well as other highly contagious diseases, which may lead to grave complications including permanent disability and death. Such diseasws can be prevented through vaccines, as the Mayor encouraged mothers and fathers to have their kids vaccinated.

“Your city government, through the Manila Health Department, will be conducting vaccination. We have successfully fought against polio in last year’s campaign. And it was successfully done on the prescribed time given to us by the DOH,” Domagoso stressed.

“Congratulations to our medical frontliners in the Manila Health Department,” the Mayor added.

He also said the city government addressed the problem of “stunting” due to malnutrition of children. He said that this nutrition program is still an ongoing project up to now.

“With the local government of Manila, the international organizations, and with the help of the barangays, this is where we can win the fight against measles,” Domagoso said.

The Mayor said data figures on measles have been lower at present time as compared to during the 1980s due to the successful yearly program of the Manila government.

However, the Mayor still urged the parents to have their children vaccinated if they have not yet been inoculated against the diseases.

“It is up to the parents to decide whether you believe in science, if you believe in securing the health and the future of your kids,” the Mayor stressed.

Domagoso also stressed the importance of good hygiene in all places, especially in the residents’ homes, in order to prevent these contagious diseases.

On the other hand, Vice Mayor Lacuna-Pangan said the vaccination program is important to help save lives of children. The vice mayor, also a medical doctor by profession, said that starting March, during the summer months, the incidence of measles usually goes up due to the weather.

“We are here again in order to make sure that your children are given added protection against these kinds of diseases,” the Vice Mayor said.

For his part, Dr. Pangan said that the Manila Health Department has continued to extend the services to the public in Manila.

He also said the health workers of the city are also expediting to finish the vaccination within two weeks time, even though this is scheduled for a month. He also encouraged the barangay workers to help out in convincing the mothers in their neighborhood to have their children vaccinated.

“They could go to their respective health centers,” stressed Dr. Pangan. —MPIO News Release