MANILA — The Department of Health on Tuesday said that while they are still working on reaching parents who need to have their children immunized, the country has enough supply of vaccines.
“Even before the pandemic started, meron na tayong nai-procure na na mga bakuna para dito sa ating expanded program on immunization. Iyon ang ating ginagamit sa ngayon,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a media briefing.
(Even before the pandemic started, we already procured vaccines for our expanded program on immunization. That’s what we are using now.)
Vergeire reiterated the problems they faced during the COVID-19 lockdown in some areas of the Philippines. She said the restrictions made it more challenging for them to offer essential health services.
“Maraming mga nanay, natatakot silang pumunta sa health centers para magpabakuna ng kanilang anak (because of the spread of COVID-19),” she said. “Nung naka-lockdown tayo, talagang hindi makakalusot yung ating mga nanay para dalhin yung mga bata sa health center.”
(Many mothers were scared to go to health centers to have their children vaccinated. When we were on lockdown, the mothers are really not able to cross borders to bring their children to the health center.)
Vergeire said this was addressed by asking health workers to go house-to-house, or by setting up temporary posts near communities.
If ever the Philippines encounters a problem on vaccine supply, the health official said it can immediately be addressed with the help of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).
She said the Unicef helps the country procure vaccines at a lower cost.
In April, the Unicef warned that up to 2 million Filipino children may miss their vaccination schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It emphasized the importance of immunization, especially after a recent outbreak of measles and the re-emergence of polio in the country.
Vergeire reminded the public of the importance of immunization since they can still be vulnerable to other diseases as the pandemic continues.