November 30, 2023

The Department of Health-Cordillera has so far achieved an 81.14 percent coverage rate in the recent immunization drive for measles, rubella, and polio, but said it will continue to locate 26,000 children that need to be protected against the vaccine preventable diseases.

DOH-Cordillera Nurse Jocelyn Rillorta said the massive vaccination drive that was launched in May and was extended to June 15 has provided protection to 113,622 kids aged nine to 59 months old against measles and rubella and 115,341 children aged zero to 59 months old against polio.

The Cordillera is among the six regions that performed well in the supplemental nationwide immunization drive that aimed to protect children from measles, rubella, and polio.

The national coverage rate for the measles and rubella vaccination is 79.39 percent while the oral polio vaccine coverage rate is 66.97 percent.

Rillorta however said the regional health agency will continue reaching out to the 26,000 children who are yet to be immunized either due to their parents’ refusal or request that their kids’ vaccination be deferred.

The DOH has been aggressive in the vaccination drive against measles and rubella since it is a disease in which one child that catches the virus can infect 20 others.

The country saw an outbreak in measles and resurgence of polio in 2019, almost two decades after the last case was recorded in 1993. The Philippines was declared polio-free in 2000.

Rillorta said while the DOH has been aggressive in its advocacy on the benefits of immunization, some parents remain hesitant in having their children vaccinated due to their religious beliefs, while others had the impression that the recent drive was against the Covid-19.

The DOH implemented a house-to-house strategy and has sought the assistance of local government units in the recent immunization drive to reach as much eligible children as possible, regardless of their vaccination status. – Jane B. Cadalig