Press Release
June 19, 2011

Legarda Lauds Passage of Mandatory Child Immunization Act in Congress

Senator Loren Legarda hailed the passage in Congress of the measure that will establish a comprehensive program that will provide free vaccination services to infants and children.

Legarda, co-author of the "Mandatory Infant and Children Health Immunization Act of 2011", said that the measure is a few steps away from becoming a law after the Senate Committee on Health and Demography recently submitted the Bicameral Conference Committee report on the disagreeing provisions of the Senate and House versions of the bill.

"I am glad that this important measure is close to becoming a law. This is a significant step in improving the country's healthcare services since infectious diseases have been prevented dramatically with the advent of immunization," she explained.

"Mass immunizations have made a significant bearing in preventive medicine all over the world. Contagion is reduced, strain on healthcare systems is eased, and money is frequently saved that can be used for other health services," she added.

Under the proposed legislation, infants and children up to five years of age shall be given free immunization at any government hospital or health center for the following vaccine-preventable diseases: Tuberculosis; Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis; Poliomyelitis; Measles; Mumps; Rubella or German measles; Hepatitis-B; H. Influenza type B (HIB); and other diseases as may be determined by the Secretary of Health.

Legarda said that the Philippine government was able to promote immunizations and vitamin supplementation since the early 1990s. However, many developing countries have difficulties affording immunizations. Today, the gap continues to grow between children in developing countries and those living in the industrialized world who have life-saving vaccines readily available; thus, the need for this measure.

"This program is envisioned to make a significant contribution to our country's achievement of Millennium Development Goal 4, the reduction of child mortality. As of 2008, the proportion of one-year-old children immunized against measles stands at 79.2%, a far cry from the 2015 target of 100%," she stressed.

"Immunization goes beyond simply protecting the individual. More important, it aims to improve the health of entire communities by limiting the spread of infectious disease among children and adults," Legarda concluded.

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