DOH proposes ‘no vaccination, no enrollment’ policy in public schools

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to make parents vaccinate their children after the measles outbreak that claimed many lives, the Department of Health (DOH) is proposing a ‘no vaccination, no enrollment’ policy in schools. But the Department of Education (DepEd) is still studying the proposal to ensure that this would not infringe on the rights of students.

Within the period of January 1 to February 20, 2019, the DOH has recorded a total of 11,459 measles cases, including 189 fatalities. This number is a stark increase from the 2,673 measles cases posted during the same period last year – that’s a 329% increase!

DOH proposes ‘no vaccination, no enrollment’ policy in public schools
Photo credit: ABS-CBN News

“We are hoping and praying for the measles outbreak to end, but it’s still increasing,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

While the DOH is strengthening efforts to stop the outbreak in many regions, the highly infectious disease is spreading fast. The outbreak and the subsequent high number of patients recorded this year is largely attributed to the Dengvaxia scare as many parents felt that it was not safe to have their children immunized due to the fatalities in the Dengvaxia shots.

The DOH wants the DepEd to stop public schools from accepting students who have not been vaccinated properly. This statement was issued in a bid to make parents vaccinate their children now.

But Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that the DepEd still needs to study the proposal thoroughly to ensure it does not impinge on the rights of the students.

“We have to look at the human rights aspect. We will study it on the aspect of the Constitution, human rights,” Briones said.

Under the current guidelines of the school-based immunization program, parents are allowed to choose whether to vaccinate their children or not, through the consent form.

But Briones admits that it is important for the parents to be educated that the measles vaccine is safe and does not have the same risks as the controversial Dengvaxia which had been given to students under the school-based immunization program.

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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