Ph, Measles Outbreak Declared; Confidence on Vaccine Fades
Philippines, – Number of measles cases rose to 4300 as of writing and deaths at around 70. Measles outbreak was declared. Hospitals have a hard time keeping up with the flow of patients coming in.
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the measles virus. Symptoms start to manifest themselves from 10 to 12 days after exposure to an infected person and usually lasts for 7 to 10 days. It is airborne, thus, easily transferable.
Measles case isn’t uncommon and the illness is treatable but the best to way to avoid it is through vaccine. However, in the Philippines, the case is different.
Recently, there was the so-called “Dengvaxia scare”. It is when the Department of Health temporarily halted the public school-based dengue vaccination aka Dengvaxia after Sanofi, a French-based vaccine-maker, stated that Dengvaxia posts more risks to people who had no prior dengue infection. Dengvaxia was a promising solution to dengue- a mosquito-carried disease which Filipinos are prone to have. In fact, dengue outbreak happens almost every year.
Sanofis statement was blown out of proportion and rumors went viral. Over 800,000 public school students received the vaccine. Sanofi’s statement was then followed by reports of children dying from complications allegedly attributed to the vaccine, of which number of deaths is over a hundred as of December 2018, although there was no conclusive evidence that they indeed, died due to Dengvaxia.
The “Dengvaxia Scare” is said to have caused the lost of confidence to vaccines among Filipinos. More children didn’t receive the shots due to the parents fear of ineffectiveness, thus, ditched the immunization programs altogether.
Dengvaxia, however, is still commercially available and is used in many countries.
It behooves to ask,”Who is to be blamed on the outbreak?” Measles can easily be avoided by a simple vaccine but due to the popularity and widespread news and articles on the negative effects of a single brand, the public panicked and the previous beliefs were overturned. And, more children suffer.
With the advent of technology, people from all walks of life, regardless of education, race or religion, had the opportunity to speak up, albeit anonymously at times. Relevant opinions and pertinent information travel much faster than before, and so are fake news. The ‘Dengvaxia scare’ is a concrete example of an issue that is blown out of proportion, and instead of a positive effect, the opposite became true. That is why we should remain skeptical and be wise enough about the information we see on the internet and other media. Too much information isn’t bad. What makes it bad is how we make use of them. It doesn’t hurt to be more discerning. Further research goes a long way.
Let’s discuss with aimtalk teachers:
- How often do you receive a vaccine? What kind of vaccine do you usually have?
- What can you say about vaccines? In some countries, immunization or receiving vaccines is mandatory. What’s your take on this?
- What are the likely effects of an announcement of outbreaks? Why do you think it should be made known to the public?
measles(n): an infectious illness in which you have a fever and small red spots on your face and body. People often have measles when they are children
as of: at the time of
contagious(adj): contagious disease can be passed from person to person by touch.
manifest itself(v): appear
airborne(adj): carried through the air
vaccine(n): a substance which contains a weak form of the Bacteria or Virus that causes a disease and is used to protect people from that disease.
halt(v): prevent sb/sth from continuing
aka: also know as
be prone to something / to do something : likely to do or suffer from something especially something bad or harmful.
ditch(v): to stop having something because you no longer want it
immunization(n): protection from a particular illness by giving them a vaccine.
behove(v): say it is duty or responsibility for someone to do something
advent of something (n): the time when something first begins to be widely used
people from all walks of life(n): people from many different jobs or positions in society.
albeit(conj): SYN: although
anonymously(adv): with unknown by name
pertinent(adj): directly relating to something that is being considered. SYN: relevant
discerning(adj): showing the ability to make good judgements