The declaration of a hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) outbreak should be backed by scientific data, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.
This developed as more than 132,000 persons received their first booster against COVID-19 during the 3-day “Bakunahang Bayan,” the DOH announced.
At the press briefing, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the HFMD outbreak tag will also be triggered if the cases of the illness are no longer manageable.
Vergeire was asked if there is a need to declare an outbreak for the HFMD amid the reported cases in the past weeks.
Vergeire said that local government units (LGUs) can always declare an outbreak provided that there is scientific evidence based on the surveillance data.
“For us to consider and trigger a declaration of an outbreak, surveillance data would support and say it has risen for the past five years. But another consideration would be, is it manageable?” she said.
“Can the local government still be able and has the capacity to manage the cases and prevent further transmission? If they see the local governments can manage, they are coping and they are able to cope up with further transmission of the illness,” she added.
“We were able to vaccinate first COVID-19 booster doses to 132,770 individuals nationwide,” Vergeire added in a press briefing.
Vaccination coverage among the 5 to 11 age group has also increased to 49.3 percent. The government’s target for this group is 10.8 million.
“For our 5-11 years old, we were able to vaccinate an additional 33,239,” Vergeire said.
The special inoculation drive, held from Dec. 5 to 7, aims to increase booster uptake and vaccination coverage in the pediatric population.
Latest DOH figures show that 73.6 million Filipino are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of the figure, 20.9 million have received their additional jab.