Ejercito calls for calm amid immunization scare

Senator JV Ejercito. (ANC video grab)

SENATOR JV Ejercito on Tuesday expressed concern over the public’s loss of confidence on the government’s immunization programs due to the unnecessary fears and anxieties caused by the Dengvaxia controversy.

“I urge the public to remain calm. I also urge all parties to be more responsible in issuing statements that would tend to confuse the public and add fuel to the fire,” Ejercito, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee continued its probe on the controversial dengue vaccine program.

“Parents are becoming more fearful in giving their consent for their children to be vaccinated even when they are proven safe,” Ejercito said.

Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) said there was a 37 percent decline in the number of children getting vaccinated, including the deworming program, which does not even inject children.

“I am also a parent and my son was given three shots of Dengvaxia, so I also worry but I assure our people that unlike Dengvaxia, the other immunization programs of the DOH are safe as they went through extensive clinical trials,” Ejercito said, adding that he understood what parents are feeling because of the controversy.

The senator urged the government to work doubly hard to bring back the public’s confidence in the immunization programs.

“This is a serious public health issue. I urge everyone not to use this as a political tool to advance selfish agendas,” he stressed. p: wjg