MANILA – A day after the commemoration of World Polio Day, the Department of Health (DOH) reiterated its appeal to parents to have their children vaccinated against the debilitating disease.
In a statement released on Friday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III asked parents of children aged 5 and below to avail the oral polio vaccine given in local health centers as part of the government’s “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” campaign.
“I call on parents and caregivers of children below five years old to bring them to the nearest health center for vaccination against polio. This Saturday and Sunday, fixed vaccination posts in communities will be open and our roving teams will continue to look for unvaccinated children,” he said.
Duque said children should get vaccinated even if they had prior immunization, stressing that full vaccination is the “best way” to prevent the transmission of the disease.
The synchronized polio vaccination campaign started last Oct. 14 in Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, Davao del Sur, Davao City, and Metro Manila. It will run until Oct. 27.
The campaign will be expanded to the whole of Mindanao on Nov. 25 and will conclude with another round in January 2020.
For areas excluded from the campaign, parents may still bring their children to local health facilities to get vaccinated, according to Duque.
The DOH in September confirmed the reemergence of polio in the Philippines, 19 years after the World Health Organization declared the country polio-free.
Polio is a highly contagious disease caused when the polio virus invades the nervous system.
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and sudden onset of floppy arms or legs. Severe polio cases can also lead to permanent paralysis or even death.
Aside from immunization, the DOH also recommended the practice of proper hygiene to prevent the disease’s transmission.
-- Report from Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News