DepEd mulls 'no vaccination, no enrollment' policy amid measles outbreaks

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 23) — The Department of Education (DepEd) is studying a proposed "no vaccination, no enrollment" policy in public schools amid the rising number of measles cases in the country.

In a press statement on Friday, the DepEd revealed that the Department of Health (DOH) made the proposal as the two agencies work closely in monitoring cases of measles – a highly infectious disease locally known as "tigdas" – among students.

"As much as there is a growing need to reinvigorate the campaign for the importance of vaccination, Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones emphasizes that the proposed policy must take into consideration the human rights of learners, especially their access to quality basic education," the statement read.

Pending a decision on the proposed ban on unimmunized children, the DepEd said it is now implementing measures to ensure the protection of students, including following up on learners who have not received vaccination.

The DepEd added that it is looking into ways "to regain the confidence of parents in immunization." The DOH has said the low coverage of measles vaccinations contributed to the rise in measles cases.

READ: 'Fake news is deadly': The numbers behind measles cases and immunization in the Philippines

Outbreaks have been declared in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and most recently in most of Cagayan Valley.

The DOH reported that the number of measles cases in the country has reached 8,443 from January to February 18 alone. Of these cases, 135 people have died.