MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday launched the “Chikiting Ligtas” campaign to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated against measles, rubella, and poliovirus.
The immunization drive, which aims to increase routine vaccine uptake among children below 5 years old, was launched in San Juan City and would last until the end of May.
Confidence in childhood vaccines dropped up to 25 percent in the Philippines during the COVID-19, among the steepest declines from dozens of countries, the UNICEF warned this week.
According to DOH Assistant Secretary Beverly Lorraine Ho, 95 percent of Filipino children should get routine immunization this year to prevent outbreaks.
Ho noted that routine vaccine coverage among children was already higher than 70 to 80 percent.
"The higher that we can get, that’s really the target," she added.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora received his 2nd COVID-19 booster shot at the same event to encourage people to also avail of the jab following an uptick in coronavirus infections.
Ho meanwhile allayed concerns over the increase in COVID-19 cases, saying one shouldn't "worry as much" when they have a complete dose of coronavirus vaccines.
"'Yung mga nagpabakuna or hindi updated ang boosters siguro sila ang mas dapat kabahan," she said.
(Those who don't have booster shots should be more concerned.)
"Pero kung kumpleto ang bakuna niyo you don’t have to worry as much and you also need to make sure that you protect yourself lalo na ngayon alam ko yung ibang tao kapag may sipon sila hindi na sila masyadong nais-stay sa bahay, hindi na rin sila masyado nagma-mask. Kailangan gawin pa rin 'yun," the health official added.
(But if your vaccine is complete you don't have to worry as much and you also need to make sure that you protect yourself. I know that other people, when they have a cold, they don't want to stay at home anymore, they don't mask up that much. That still needs to be done.)
In a statement, Sen. Nancy Binay urged the health department to boost its routine vaccine drive through information campaigns, saying there were many "underserved communities" in the immunization push.
Improving the routine "patak" immunization coverage in barangays and schools could be a "critical step in reaching out to the unvaccinated and vulnerable young population," the lawmaker also said.
— with a report from Willard Cheng and Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News