DOH taps fast food chain to reach more children in anti-polio drive

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2019 06:35 PM

MANILA — Children may soon get vaccinated against the polio virus in select branches of popular fast food chain McDonald's, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday.

In line with the next round of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7, selected McDonald's stores in Metro Manila and Mindanao will set up hubs where children can get immunized against the disease, the DOH said in a statement.

The DOH's staff will administer the 3 doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) in the McDonald's hubs, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Children at McDonald's Bahay Bulilit Learning Centers will also receive polio immunization.

Aside from McDonald's, Duque said the DOH plans to partner with other corporations to make polio vaccination more accessible.

"We will do that with other fast food chains na maraming tao. This is not exclusive," he told ABS-CBN News.

"We will have partnerships with as many entities as possible to help us achieve the objective of higher immunization coverage," he said.

During the vaccination drive held last Oct. 14 to 27, the DOH recorded a 96-percent coverage among children not older than 59 months in Metro Manila.

Davao del Sur, meanwhile, reported a 92-percent coverage while Lanao del Sur, 85 percent.

Children are recommended to receive 3 OPV doses and one shot of the injectible inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to be fully protected from the disease.

The DOH has urged parents to have their children vaccinated under the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign even if they have already received immunization.

In September, the DOH confirmed the return of polio in the Philippines, 19 years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the country free from the disease. Since then, 7 confirmed cases have been reported, mostly in Mindanao.

Polio is a "highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children," according to the WHO.

Severe polio cases may cause paralysis and death.