338,300 kids to get measles, polio jabs
The Department of Health-Cordillera will launch a mass vaccination of children against polio and measles-rubella in May to arrest the projected outbreak of the diseases this year.
The immunization targets children zero to 59 months old, regardless of their vaccination status.
DOH-Cordillera Nurse V Joyce Rillorta said the vaccination is a response to the recommendation of the World Health Organization in September 2022 for the Philippines to conduct supplemental immunization, after a projection the country is at risk of an outbreak in polio and measles this year.
For the measles-rubella, the DOH-Cordillera is aiming to immunize 155,991 children who are nine to 59 months old and 182,376 children zero to 59 months old to be given the bivalent oral polio vaccine (BOVP).
In Abra, the DOH targets to reach 20,010 children for measles-rubella vaccination and 23,221 for the BOVP.
The DOH aims to immunize 11,751 children in Apayao for measles rubella and 13,618 for BOPV while 38,278 children in Benguet are targeted for measles-rubella and 45,087 for BOPV.
In Baguio City, 29,269 children are targeted for measles-rubella and 34,894 for BOPV while 20,551 kids in Ifugao are targeted for measles-rubella and 23,917 for BOPV.
In Kalinga, the DOH is targeting 21,240 children for measles-rubella and 24,778 kids for BOPV while11,751 kids are aimed to be vaccinated against measles-rubella and 16,861 kids are targeted for BOPV vaccination in Mountain Province.
The DOH wants a 95 percent vaccination coverage rate for eligible kids during the vaccination drive that will last for the whole month.
Rillorta said the projected outbreak in polio and measles this year is traced to the low immunization of kids against the diseases in 2019, which was aggravated when the regular immunization of kids was interrupted by the pandemic that hit in 2020.
In 2021, three in four kids were not vaccinated against measles, according to Rillorta.
“If outbreaks happen, kids will suffer from the diseases that are preventable in the first place. It will also be a challenge for local government units, which will need additional funds and will disrupt their focus on other diseases,” she said.
“There is no medicine for polio, rubella, and measles other than vaccination. We want to interrupt the transmission of the viruses that cause these diseases and prevent additional outbreak in the health care system.”
Rillorta said the DOH-Cordillera will implement a combination of house-to-house, fixed post, and temporary post approach to reach as many eligible children as possible.
“We aim to achieve an 85 percent coverage rate in two weeks, 90 percent by week three, and 95 percent by week four,” she said.
The DOH has engaged the support of line government agencies like the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Civil Service Commission, the Office of the Civil Defense, the Philippine Information Agency, Rotary Club, and social media influencers. – Jane B. Cadalig