DOH urges LGUs to continue immunization for other diseases

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2020 10:03 PM

Marikina residents have their children vaccinated in a program of the city government on September 23, 2019 amid the reemergence of polio in the country after almost 2 decades being declared polio-free by the World Health Organization. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday reminded local chief executives to continue with their immunization programs for vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, rubella and polio amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said he will ask the help of the president and the Department of Interior and Local Government to urge local officials not to forego immunization activities in their areas.

"Para hikayatin ang lahat ng mga local chief executives na huwag bibitawan ang ibang immunization activities dahil napakamahalaga po ito para maproteksiyunan ang ating kabataan mula sa mga vaccine-preventable diseases," Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said during the weekly meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.

(We want to encourage all local chief executives not to forego other immunization activities because these are important to protect the youth from vaccine-preventable diseases.)

Duque also said the government has allotted P319 million to hire additional vaccinators, as well as to mobilize vaccinators and to procure vaccines.

The government also has 11 million units of measles, rubella and oral polio vaccines, 5.7 million vaccination devices and 947 sets of PPEs for the health care workers.

The DOH, together with the World Health Organization and the UNICEF, will conduct a nationwide measles and polio supplemental immunization campaign starting Oct. 26.

The DOH earlier said they will kick off the campaign in Mimaropa and Bicol regions.

Mimaropa has reported 1 death out of 272 cases of measles as of Oct. 4, according to the DOH. Of this figure, most cases were among children under 5 years old, it added.

Meanwhile, 35 percent of children in Bicol who are eligible for vaccines have yet to be immunized,.

The DOH 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.