These included parts of Luzon and Visayas, with some areas seeing an astonishing increase in the number of cases of the disease to be prevented.
The Calabarzon area south of Manila has seen a jump of 2.558%, with 575 reported cases so far in 2019 – compared to 21 in 2018. Since the beginning of the year, the area has suffered nine deaths.
"We are expanding the outbreak of Metro Manila to other regions because the cases have increased in recent weeks and to strengthen surveillance as new cases and mothers and caregivers are alert to be more vigilant," said health minister Francisco Duque.
Vaccinations submerged after Dengvaxia program
The Ministry of Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said that the relatively low number of vaccinations against measles in the country can be attributed to the aborted Dengvaxia vaccination program that began in 2016.
In 2017, the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur published clinical research data showing that the dengue vaccine could have unintended consequences in patients who had never been infected with the virus spread by mosquitoes.
The prosecutor's office has indicted government officials in connection with deaths related to the vaccine.
Duque has tried to assure the parents that vaccination against measles is not comparable to the Dengvaxia vaccine.
He told parents and caregivers Thursday that the measles vaccines are "safe and have been used worldwide for decades now," according to the state's news agency.
According to the Ministry of Health, the number of non-vaccinated children has risen by more than 100,000 in the past year.