Philippines says 136 people have died in measles outbreak

Philippines says 136 people have died in measles outbreak
FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, file photo, a local health worker administers a vaccine to a baby at a local health center at the financial district of Makati, east of Manila, Philippines. The World Health Organization and the British government are working with the Philippine Department of Health, UNICEF and a host of other partners to help deliver a month-long campaign to immunize children against Measles, Rubella, commonly known as German measles and Polio which aims to immunize 13 million children nationwide. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine health secretary says 136 people, mostly children, have died of measles and 8,400 others have been sickened in an outbreak blamed partly on recent vaccination fears.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Monday a massive immunization drive that started last week in hard-hit Manila and four provincial regions may contain the outbreak by April. President Rodrigo Duterte warned in a TV message Friday of fatal complications and urged children to be immunized. The outbreak began in January.

Duque said a government information drive is helping restore public trust in the government’s immunization program, which was marred in 2017 by an anti-dengue vaccine made by French drugmaker Sanofi which was blamed for the deaths of at least three children.