The Department of Health (DOH) Region III is set to introduce the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine in the immunization program in early 2018.
This proposition is a part of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) established in 1976 to “ensure that infants or children and mothers have access to routinely recommended infant or childhood vaccines.”
At least eight vaccine-preventable diseases are included in the EPI – polio, tuberculosis, maternal and neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis b, and German measles.
The JE vaccine was said to have 90 percent effectiveness and its effect gradually increases over time.
Currently, the available JE vaccines are priced from P2,000 to P4,000 per shot. If included in the EPI, the vaccine will be free for the covered patients.
DOH regional epidemiologist Jessie Fantone, in an interview with SunStar Pampanga, said the number of JE cases in Pampanga are low compared to dengue cases as the reported number of JE cases is sometimes reported for dengue cases in a day.
From January 1 to August 26 this year, there have been 133 patients and 53 cases nationwide.
Nine deaths have been reported on the same period wherein four were from Pampanga, two from Zambales, and one each from Laguna, Nueva Ecija, and Pangasinan.