“Tolerable” pain, fever and even fainting are perfectly normal side effects to the numerous vaccines required by this year’s schedule, the Philippine Department of Health is assuring returning school children.

The DOH is telling parents of grade school students to “value their child’s protection from diseases over temporary discomfort” ahead of its immunization program this month, which will include administration of the measles, MMR and tetanus-diptheria vaccines, according to ABS-CBN News.

“DOH also stressed that children will likely experience tolerable pain during the administration of the vaccines,” reports ABS-CBN. “They may also experience temporary and manageable side effects like fainting, mostly due to fear of injection; swelling, fever or rashes.”

The Philippine government is facing an uphill battle convincing parents to sign vaccine consent forms after a medical blunder last month sent thousands of children to the hospital.

Last week, a bungled deworming campaign for children launched by the Department led to widespread reports of nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In subsequent days, the DOH was forced to fend off reports that children were dying, and was accused of sending out expired deworming tablets.

Government health workers attempted to assure parents the side effects were normal, or meant the child had worms.

“The kids who took the pill, took it without taking breakfast, as the instruction was that they should take the med with full stomach,” a DOH chief said. “Or, [there are many stomach worms].”

Today the DOH claimed the more than 4,000 deworming tablet hospitalizations were due to a text message hoax that scared parents into taking their children to the hospital.

Aside from the Department of Health’s mishaps, Filipinos have various reasons to be wary of vaccine reassurances.

For one, a program set up by the United States government to administer funds to vaccine-damaged victims has paid out over $3.18 billion.

And the MMR vaccine recently came under renewed scrutiny when US Congressman Bill Posey noted before a House committee the testimony of Center for Disease Control whistleblower Bill Thompson, who claimed the agency colluded with researchers to destroy documents linking the injection to thousands of autism cases.

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