June 4, 2023

Despite restrictions on mobility due to the pandemic, most parents of children under five years old in the Cordillera had their kids immunized against measles rubella and polio during the recent nationwide measles rubella and oral polio (MR-OPV) supplemental immunization campaign.

The vaccination drive held from Oct. 26 to Nov. 25 has covered 1,174 out of 1,176 barangays in 76 municipalities and two cities in the region for MR, Department of Health-Cordillera Director Ruby Constantino reported.

Two barangays in Baguio, which are located in the business district, did not join in the campaign.

Overall, Constantino said they accomplished an 86.7 percent coverage for MR vaccination, which is for nine to 59 months old children.

While short of their 95 percent target, Constantino considers the accomplishment a feat in the light of the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis and the geographical situation of the Cordillera.

“I am proud that despite the Covid challenges and also the geographical description of our region, the national office congratulated us because given our terrain, parents would have had difficulty in bringing their children to the facility to be vaccinated. Having 86.7 percent of our children vaccinated is a very good achievement,” Constantino said.

She reported Kalinga and Abra even achieved more than 90 percent coverage, while Baguio City and Benguet, which make up 50 percent of the total population of target children, achieved 81.6 percent and 85 percent coverage, respectively.

For OPV, given to zero to 59 months old children, the region accomplished 85.3 percent coverage.

As there are target children still unvaccinated, Constantino said their parents may still have them immunized through the ongoing regular MR-OPV vaccination conducted in their respective barangay health facilities.

The nationwide MR-OPV supplemental immunization drive, backed by the World Health Organization and Unicef, aims to avert measles and polio outbreak in 2021. It is being done in two phases. The first phase held recently covered the Cordillera and Regions 1, 2, 4-B and 5; while phase two will cover Visayas, National Capital Region, Regions 3 and 4-A tentatively on February 2021. – Hanna C. Lacsamana