The national government is now looking into lifting the current state of national emergency brought about by the three-year-long Covid-19 pandemic.
This, according to the Department of Health (DOH), has enabled the agency to free their resources and manpower to focus on other vaccine-preventable diseases that have been "neglected" due to the department's intense focus on the coronavirus.
Last April 12, DOH-Calabarzon launched its Measles, Rubella and Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization Activity, with the goal of immunizing at least 95 percent of children against other communicable diseases, particularly measles, in the region.
Health authorities now have a stronger case for vaccinating children in a region that has been rocked by the Dengvaxia fiasco two years before Covid-19 struck the Philippines, causing parents to become distrustful of vaccines in general.
The currently low prevalence of Covid-19 in Laguna province, for instance - just 17 active cases as of April 12, comparable to the hundreds recorded at the height of the pandemic - is a testimony to how the vaccines, along with other health protocols, have so far been effective in ensuring that the worst impacts of the pandemic are now mitigated.
But a more compelling cause for the DOH is the fact that some of these communicable diseases that have been out of the focus radar due to the Covid-19 pandemic are also on the rise.
DOH statistics, for instance have shown that for the first three months of 2023, there were 49 cases of measles and rubella reported in Calabarzon Region.
This is equivalent to a 213-percent increase compared to the same period last year with 23 cases.
And according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Philippines was among the top 10 countries with the highest number of “zero doses” children globally in 2021, at the height of the pandemic.
Vaccines have been proven to work in the past to eradicate communicable diseases that could lead to death or serious complications in children.
This year, as the DOH prepares to re-focus its approach to disease, the story of the Covid-19 pandemic presents a good opportunity for them to emphasize the importance of vaccinating children against other diseases.