Manila: As many as 261 people, mostly children under the age of five, have lost their lives due to measles in the Philippines since the start of 2019, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
This is 547 per cent increase as compared to 2018 when only 202 people lost their lives in the entire year, reports CNN.
Furthermore, experts have warned that around 2.6 million children are at risk in the country, as efforts are underway to restore faith in vaccines amongst the people.
A scandal in 2014 regarding a new dengue fever vaccine, Dengvaxia, led to vaccine levels dropping to 39 per cent in 2018 from 70 per cent in 2017 in the Philippines.
“The vaccine has been available for decades and provides almost 100% protection from measles,” Richard Gordon, chairman and CEO of the Philippines Red Cross said while urging the people to get vaccinated.
“We urge every parent to vaccinate their children to protect them and other people with whom they come into contact,” Gordon said.
“These cases haven’t happened overnight,” Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF’s executive director said. “Just as the serious outbreaks we are seeing today took hold in 2018, lack of action today will have disastrous consequences for children tomorrow,” she added.