MANILA — With around 2 million Filipino children at risk of missing vaccinations, the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reminded the public that they can still have their children immunized despite the enhanced community quarantine due to COVID-19.
On World Immunization Week, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded Filipino parents that immunization or vaccination is still the most successful and most cost-effective health intervention.
She said that around 20 million children around the world are currently not getting immunized.
To address this problem, the DOH issued Department Memorandum No. 2020-0150 or the Interim Guidelines for Immunization Services in the Context of COVID-19 Outbreak.
The guidelines include routine immunization for newborn babies up to 1-year-old infants and selective catch-up vaccination of “defaulters” below 5 years old.
Vergeire explained that the decision to push through with routine immunization depends on risk assessment and the requirement that infection and prevention control equipment are being used during vaccinations.
“Kinakailangang maglista ng healthcare workers ng mga batang hindi nabakunahan at agad na magsagawa ng active catch-up immunization once COVID-19 situation permits,” Vergeire said during a televised briefing.
(Health care workers should list down children who were not vaccinated and push through with catch-up immunization once COVID-19 situation permits.)
Private clinics are also encouraged to continue vaccination efforts as long as physical distancing is observed.
Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje of the Public Health Services Team said immunization is important to prevent the spread of polio, measles, tetanus, and diptheria.
Cabotaje pointed out that vaccinations at public health centers are free.
She said some health centers might be closed as health workers focus on COVID-19 response but house-to-house immunization can still be organized.
“Kung may sintomas yung nanay, dapat hindi sya pumupunta sa mga health center,” she Cabotaje said.
(If the mother is feeling ill, she should not go to the health center anymore.)
She said both the parents and the health worker should wear a face mask although there is no need for an infant to wear one.