Momi Berlin supports #SavetheFuture campaign
Two weeks ago, we visited our Pediatrician for the kids’ monthly checkup. Our 18-mo-old boy was also scheduled for his Varicella Virus vaccine. Upon reaching her clinic, our Pedia checked my son’s baby book and asked us if we would like her to give MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) instead. She was concerned because of the current measles outbreak. We both agreed that she would administer MMR on our next visit.
It is reassuring to know that we have a Pedia who shows concern to her patients. And with the current measles outbreak in the Philippines, it is comforting to learn as well that the pediatric doctors all over the country have come together to launch an advocacy aimed at restoring confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Many parents became less trusting of vaccines following the fatal impact of the Dengvaxia scare. And sadly, the distrust resulted in outbreaks of diseases other than dengue, notably measles.
A trust-vaccination movement dubbed #SavetheFuture
Recently, I witnessed the launch of the “Save The Future” campaign of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP). The campaign aims to mobilize PIDSP members to cooperate and collaborate with government stakeholders in making the most of the available vaccine resources and to deploy them properly and effectively. An online community has also been created at www.facebook.com/SaveTheFuturePH to help drive digital awareness about the campaign.
Gathered inside the spacious Grand Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila in Ortigas were PIDSP members as well as other subspecialty societies of the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS). The PPS, established in 1947, is the oldest medical society of physicians caring for newborns, infants, children, and adolescents in the Philippines.
The professional responsibility to #SavetheFuture
This mother admired how PIDSP president Dr. Anna Lisa T. Ong-Lim took a stand and claimed professional responsibility in addressing the issue of vaccine hesitancy among Filipino parents. She challenged the pediatric doctors of the same responsibility. PIDSP and PPS also issued a joined letter to its member-doctors and the Department of Health (DOH) urging them to “immunize eligible children against vaccine-preventable diseases.” This primarily involves the routine immunization schedule for infants that vaccinate against tuberculosis, diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus, polio, Hemophilus influenza B, hepatitis B and measles from birth to the first year of life.
Likewise, the organizations reminded pediatricians to ensure up-to-date immunization of their patients as part of the primary responsibility of their individual practices. Thus, perhaps, our Pedia doesn’t get tired of constantly reminding us of our children’s vaccination schedule.
The campaign to #SavetheFuture
And in particular response to the current measles outbreak, PPS and PIDSP advised pediatricians to administer the first dose of measles vaccine to infants starting at the age of six months instead of the usual nine months. The schedule follows the country’s recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule. The schedule is determined annually by both societies along with the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination.
The program ended with all being optimistic that with working together, the organizations will effectively address the healthcare crises that has gripped our country. I am confident that PPS and PIDSP, with the help of DOH, will set eliminating measles and other diseases as their priority goal. And every time we visit our Pediatrician, I could feel and see PPS and PIDSP’s commitment to freeing the Filipino children from any kind of disease. As a mother now, I am appealing to other parents never to doubt the power of vaccination. Immunization not only saves us time and money, but it also protects our loved ones and even saves our child’s life. Vaccination protects the next generation and saves the future. Let us be part of this campaign.