Vaccines vs fake news

September 01, 2019

Immunization without information won’t combat and defeat deadly infections and epidemics.

They go in tandem; in fact, they are twin treatments whose combined potency are put to naught when one is lacking.

It is no different from treating a wound – analgesics would not suffice; it has to be coupled with antibiotics to provide the patient not only relief from the pain but also address infection and hasten the healing process.

In fact, sometimes ignorance and misinformation are deadlier than the infection or epidemic themselves.

This much is true: Wrongful assumption can be fatal.

Maraming namamatay sa maling akala.

Thus, government should "top off" the proposed P7.5-billion national immunization budget for 2020 with funds for an information campaign that would 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," he said.

In fact, parents of children inoculated with the untried and largely untested Dengvaxia vaccine complained to Senator Richard J. Gordon that they were not given proper information nor warned of any side effects before their children were given Dengvaxia shots.

During a consultation with Gordon, officials of the United Parents Against Dengvaxia lamented that their children have now developed various ailments that they didn't have prior to their inoculation.

In response, Gordon stressed the need for setting up the most advanced training program and testing facilities for dengue specialists because dengue is endemic to the country and to enable them to determine if the development of various diseases in the children inoculated with Dengvaxia is a side-effect of the vaccine.

"We really have to conduct a lot of study first before we could even think about re-instituting this vaccine. Hindi pa natin masiguradong ang mga sinasabi ng mga magulang ng mga batang naineksyunan ay hindi side-effects nitong Dengvaxia," he said.

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