MANILA - The Department of Health said Sunday it would launch immunization drives in Mimaropa and Bicol against measles, polio and rubella from Oct. 26 to Nov. 25 after it warned of possible outbreaks.
Mimaropa has reported 1 death out of 272 cases of measles as of Oct. 4, the DOH said in a statement. Of this figure, most cases were among children under 5 years old, it added.
"At this most trying time, I urge parents and caregivers of children below five years old to bring their children to our health centers for vaccination. The measles, rubella and polio vaccines are safe, effective and free," said Dr. Mario Baguilod, regional director of Mimaropa DOH-Centers for Health Development.
"We assure everyone that all healthcare workers who will administer the vaccine will strictly adhere to COVID-19 safety protocol."
Meantime, 35 percent of children in Bicol who are eligible for vaccines have yet to be immunized, according to the DOH.
It said that in 2018, only 104,853 children have been immunized. And with the disruption of the immunization services due to the pandemic, it is possible that the number of children who are not inoculated may have increased.
"While all of us rightfully remain vigilant about COVID-19, we have to be equally mindful as well when it comes to diseases like measles, rubella, and polio," Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.
"Our children need protection from these diseases, and this can be given through proper vaccination. We invite our parents to join this campaign to protect their families' health."