MANILA -- Sen. Nancy Binay on Thursday urged the Department of Health (DOH) and local government units (LGU) to beef up their vaccination efforts among children.
Binay made the call after the United Nations' children's agency Unicef reported that some 67 million children partially or fully missed routine vaccines globally between 2019 and 2021 because of lockdowns and healthcare disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Sobrang nakakabahala ang balita ng UNICEF. Sa ngayon, parang isang milyong bata ang 'at risk and unprotected' dahil wala sila ni isang bakuna. And with the resurgence of many other diseases plus the new Covid variants, talagang government has to step-up efforts in improving our immunization status. The DOH may also need to revamp its 'patak' strategies, and place a stable machinery to ensure the vaccination of one million children in two years max," Binay said.
By operational definition, "zero-dose" children are those who lack the first dose of the trivalent diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine.
The senator said that both national and local governments must continue its routine immunization programs to address the issue.
"We understand that the pandemic sidetracked the routine yet essential health services thereby leaving many children at risk. Pero hindi natin pwedeng idahilan ang pandemic fatigue dahil meron tayong malaking accountability sa mga bata," Binay stressed.
The Unicef likewise reported that public perception of the importance of vaccines for children declined in the Philippines during the COVID-19 pandemic, among the steepest declines from dozens of countries.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse