March 25, 2023

Experts on public health and pediatricians are hopeful that with the lifting of restrictions on mobility, more parents will bring their children for their routine vaccination.

Data for the Cordillera shows that for 2021, only 67 percent of children zero to 15 months old have been immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.

The national target is to immunize 95 percent of children in said age group, said Dr. Anachris Kilakil, head of the Department of Health-CAR Family Health Cluster, during the regional launching of the National Vaccination Days for Catch-up Immunization Chikiting Bakunation Days last May 26.

Emphasizing on the need to immunize children against diseases like polio, measles, diphtheria, hepatitis, and pneumonia, Kilakil has appealed to parents to bring their children to health centers and avail of the free vaccines given by the government.

She said more lives will be saved and children who are immunized can have a better quality of life as they become adults because they are protected from diseases that could possibly be acquired while growing up. 

“Vaccination is a proven disease prevention measure and has been done for centuries now,” Kilakil said.

Philippine Pediatric Society Northern Luzon chapter president Efren Balanag added the low vaccination rate registered in 2020 and 2021 could have serious repercussions in the country’s health system in the future.

“For 2021, all regions in the Philippines showed the occurrence of measles cases in infants and children with ages six months to 59 months old. This means there is an increasing number of people becoming susceptible to infections that could have been prevented through vaccination. Another outbreak is waiting to happen if they are not vaccinated. It is like a time bomb waiting to explode,” Balanag said.

He echoed the appeal of the DOH for parents, especially those who do not believe in vaccination, to be open minded by recognizing that vaccination can save lives.

Vaccination days at health centers started last April and will continue until June every Thursday and Friday.

The regional target is to vaccinate at least 80 percent of the 9,105 six months to 59 months old.

Available vaccines are BCG (for protection against tuberculosis (TB) meningitis, miliary TB, pentavalent vaccine (against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis, pneumonia), inactivated polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), hepatitis B, oral polio vaccines, and pneumococcal vaccine. – Rimaliza A. Opiña