The need to protect children amidst the measles outbreak in several regions of the country has galvanized the commitment of Filipino physicians to restore public trust and confidence in vaccination and increase the country’s immunization coverage.
This message was made evident when an estimated 150 physician-members of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) from Metro Manila and provinces in Luzon attended the “Forum on Vaccination and its Public Health Impact,” held recently at the PMA Auditorium in Quezon City.
With the Department of Health (DoH) as the main partner, the forum was co-organized with the PMA, Philippine Foundation for Vaccination (PFV), Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO), and the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP). The half-day forum aimed to emphasize the value, science and safety of vaccination as they explain immunization to both parents and children. At the end of the forum, the PMA members declared their commitment to champion vaccination and serve as immunization resource persons in their respective communities.
Among them was Dr. Lulu Bravo, Executive Director of the PFV, which is a non-stock, non-profit organization composed of leaders in medical and paramedical organizations in public and private sectors committed to the promotion of vaccination as essential to disease prevention. Speaking before forum participants, Dr. Bravo shared eight core messages about vaccination:
• When vulnerable populations, especially children, are not vaccinated, they are at higher risk of getting sick and dying;
• Vaccines have been incorporated in the government’s National Immunization Program (NIP) to improve the nation’s health;
• Vaccination has saved countless lives, preventing an estimated 2.5 million deaths globally each year;
• If people are not vaccinated, diseases that have become uncommon such as pertussis (whooping cough), polio and measles, will quickly reappear;
• The benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks, and many more illnesses and deaths would occur without vaccination;
• Aside from negatively impacting the health of Filipinos, infectious diseases also damage the country’s economy;
• It is important to have yourself, your children, and loved ones vaccinated; and
• There is an urgent need for everyone to unite in restoring public trust and confidence in vaccination.
Dr. Bravo was one of the vaccination experts who served as resource speakers during the forum. In our succeeding columns, we will feature lectures from the DoH, PMA, Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) and Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP) as we support the DoH and advocate for vaccination confidence among the general public.
Let us all remember that vaccination saves lives.
Teodoro B. Padilla is the executive director of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP). Medicine Cabinet is a weekly PHAP column that aims to promote awareness on public health and health care-related issues. PHAP represents the research-based pharmaceutical and health care industry.