COTABATO CITY -- The school-based immunization program of the Department of Health (DOH) has yet to be implemented in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) due to resistance from parents, a health official said Thursday.
According to DOH-ARMM Sec. Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, Jr., many wrong information spread during the deworming activity held in schools last month, which lead to apprehension from parents.
Over 300 school children were rushed to hospitals due to vomiting and stomach ache after taking deworming tablets.
The school-based immunization program was scheduled in ARMM early last week. Out of the region's five provinces, only selected schools in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur have started the immunization.
The program aims to provide vaccines against measles, tetanus, and diphtheria among grade 1 and grade 7 students.
"Nagkaroon ng negative impression sa mga parents kaya ang effect nito ay nagkaroon din ng negative attitude nila ditt at ayaw nilang basta-basta nalang ipadala o isumite ang kanilang anak on the school-based immunization program na gagawin sana natin last week," Sinolinding said.
In 2014, a measles outbreak was declared in the province of Maguindanao in ARMM. With the immunization program, DOH wanted to prevent the possibility of having another outbreak.
"Hindi pababayaan ng kagawaran lalo na kung at risk o may chance na magka adverse reaction. Ito ay proteksyon sa sakit dahil may malaking possibility na magka outbreak dahil hindi pa totally covered ang mga mag-aaral," Sinolinding added.
The health official said they are now trying to convince parents that immunization is safe for their children.
"Tulad ng maraming uri ng gamot ang hangarin natin ay mapabuti ang kalagayan n gating mag aarala at n gating mga anak. Huwag niyo ipagwalang bahala ang pagbabakuna ng inyong mga anak against the preventable diseases," Sinolinding added
The school-based immunization program aims to provide vaccines to 2.4 million grade 1 and 1.6 million grade 7 students nationwide. Of this number, 200,000 students are from ARMM.