Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles disagreed, saying he did not believe compulsory immunization was needed.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday (February 6) declared an outbreak of measles in the National Capital Region (NCR).
While global measles deaths have decreased by 84 percent worldwide in recent years - from 550,100 deaths in 2000 to 89,780 in 2016 - the World Health Organization (WHO) said measles is still common in many developing countries, particularly in parts of Asia and Africa. In Luzon, 192 cases were reported with four deaths.
In addition to the NCR area, health officials are also closely monitoring the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa (Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Bicol region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Cordillera region, and Caraga for measles. "I can not be blaming her for that", he said.
Past year under the routine immunization strategy, the coverage reached 54 percent or 113,209 children out of 210,291 target.
As of 26 January this year, 1,813 measles cases and 26 deaths were recorded by the Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau.
There is now increasing concern for the 2.4 million unvaccinated children. On Monday, seven deaths were recorded, while last week, nine children died within a single day.
Hontiveros claimed that Acosta politicized the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy, which forced parents not to have their children innoculated.
If such travel is unavoidable, it is recommended that children over 6 months and under 1-year-old should receive one dose of self-paid MMR vaccine at a local clinic two weeks prior to trips.
"We are very concerned [about] the situation because there are many cases of measles that ... could have been avoided if we had achieved higher vaccination coverage", Weiler said.
Measles can be very risky for small children and babies.
Amid the outbreak, the House of Representatives also on Friday approved on second reading an act expanding the coverage of the mandatory basic immunization program and providing a system in the determination of other types of vaccine-preventable diseases, amending Republic Act (RA) 10152 or the "Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act of 2011". There is an outbreak of measles in the region.
Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III made the declaration during a media conference urging parents to vaccinate their children, the Bangkok Post reported.
The vaccine's maker, Sanofi, set off a panic when it said a new analysis showed Dengvaxia could lead to more severe symptoms for people who had not previously been infected with dengue.