More than 200 children in Barangay Malued this city have been given oral polio vaccines as part of the city’s campaign against polio in celebration of the World Polio Day.
The program was led by the five Rotary clubs in the city under Cluster 2B, Rotary International, District 3790 together with the city government of Dagupan, through the City Health Office (CHO).
In an interview on Friday, City Health Officer Dr. Ophelia Rivera said the target of the anti-polio campaign are children aged 11 months old and below.
“With our regular immunization, we administer three doses; we start at six weeks old (or one and 1/2 months), the second dose will be given after a month and the third dose the following month after. On the third dose of the oral polio vaccine, the Inactivated Polio Vaccine is given simultaneously but the latter is injected,” she said.
Rivera said they are also conducting “catch up” on children who have missed the vaccinations.
“We are trying our best to catch up with the oral vaccine for children who have missed it to protect them. We wanted to prevent the herd immunity, wherein even if the other children were vaccinated but then there will be contaminated water or food, chances are they will still be infected with polio,” she added.
Rivera said the CHO has a regular immunization program which is set every Wednesday.
Aside from this, CHO personnel go to barangays once a month. Large barangays, meanwhile, have their own schedule and they conduct it every week or twice a month.
The actual number of target children is based on the master list of barangay midwives, she said.
Bernadette Abella, Rotary District 3790 assistant governor, said aside from the free oral polio vaccination, they also distributed vitamins and the “share-a-meal” packs.
In an interview on Thursday, Abella said the campaign to eradicate polio worldwide, vis-a-vis, the annual observance of World Polio Day on October 24 is one of the signature projects of Rotary International.
Mayor Brian Lim thanked the Rotary clubs for their effort and love for the children.
“Thank you very much Rotary Clubs, this is one of the examples of this administration’s ‘Our City, Our Shared Responsibility’,” Lim said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
The use of the inactivated poliovirus vaccine and the subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus, developed by Albert Sabin, led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988. As of 2013, GPEI had reduced polio worldwide by 99 percent.
Polio, a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease, can be prevented through immunization. (PNA)