They are more prominent abroad but has it reached Philippine shores? Are there now anti-vaxxers in the Philippines?
The movement of anti-vaxxers in the USA is extremely rampant and widespread. It has gotten so bad that there are people who even organize protests to stop the government from passing laws that require children to be vaccinated. Not to mention celebrities who advocate for it. Like Jim Carrey, Rob Schneider, Kat Von D, and of course Donald Trump. But the big question is are there anti-vaxxers here in the Philippines?
What are anti-vaxxers exactly?
New York Times
Anti-vaxxers are people who believe and partake in the anti-vaccination movement. They are people who believe that vaccines cause more harm than good. And some of them even claim that vaccines cause Autism. (Which is totally not true btw) Although most of them don’t identify as anti-vaxxers because they consider the term to be a slur. So most of them identify as vaccine-aware. So although there are no Filipinos who actually identify as anti-vaxxers or vaccine-aware, there has been a significant decline of parents who get their children vaccinated ever since 2017.
And all it took was Dengvaxia
The Straits Times
Just to recap on the whole Dengvaxia case, Dengvaxia was a school-based dengue vaccination program. But was abruptly stopped because the producers of the vaccine said that the vaccine poses a higher risk to those who have not contracted dengue before. Which caused the deaths of 142 children and 3 adults. But just to be clear, it was the misinformation that’s at fault here. Not the drug itself. If only it was administered to those who have had dengue before, there wouldn’t be a problem. So ever since the Dengvaxia issue came to light in 2017, the Filipino’s belief in vaccines began to deteriorate. Especially among those in the lowers classes, which sadly make up most of the population of the Philippines. Meaning a larger percentage of children are at risk of contracting deathly diseases.
Measles, Dengue, Polio, and now Diphtheria
Just this year we have been hit by four major cases of disease, first there was Measles. In January to February this year alone, there have been a total of 4,302 cases of measles have been reported and 70 deaths. Which is just saddening, because the disease is easily preventable. Not to mention that the vaccine has been so effective that at one point it was virtually eliminated in the USA.
And then came Dengue, it was so bad that the DOH declared a national dengue epidemic. In a report by the DOH, 622 people have died because of dengue as of July 20 this year. And although dengue isn’t preventable by vaccine here in the Philippines. The staggering number of people contracting the disease just shows the declining awareness for health concerns in the country.
And then of course after 19 years, Polio is now back in the Philippines. We have managed to keep the deadly disease out of our country for almost two decades with the help of vaccines.
And now the latest one, Diphtheria. That even managed to kill a 10-year-old girl, it is a highly communicable bacterial infection. But it can also be prevented with the help of a vaccine. It seems like we are being hit wave after wave of diseases and illnesses. Even if we didn’t have open anti-vaxxers here in the Philippines. The sentiment of mistrust against vaccine is really tearing a hole in our country’s health.
What do we do?
At the end of it all, what’s most important is keeping our children and families safe from illnesses. So don’t let popular belief and propaganda sway you. And always make sure to make educated choices. You can always consult a physician about what the vaccines contain and if any of them have risks. Just think about it, what will you trust with your children’s lives; popular opinion or science? Stay healthy everyone!
Do you think that anti-vaxxers exist in the Philippines? Are you one of them? We’d love to hear what you think! So share with us your thoughts in the comments down below! Or hit us up on our Facebook or Twitter @UDoUPh.