The Department of Health (DOH) will extend for four more days the polio immunization activities in Region 12 or Soccsksargen in a bid to meet its target coverage in the area.
Jenny Panizales, DOH-Region 12 spokesperson, said Monday they will continue with the “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” in the region from Dec. 10 to 13 based on a directive from DOH Mindanao cluster head, Assistant Secretary Abdullah Dumama.
Panizales said Dr. Aristedes Tan, DOH-12 director, issued Advisory No. 3 on Sunday evening, advising health and vaccination teams to sustain the mass immunization campaign until the end of the week.
Panizales said their teams continued with the vaccination activities even after the first round of vaccination ended on Saturday.
“Our vaccination teams actually continued to render services to cover the remaining unvaccinated children,” she told reporters.
Based on validated data, she said the overall immunization coverage as of Sunday within the region’s four provinces and five cities reached 89 percent or around 512,000 of the targeted 575,525 children aged 5-years-old and below.
Sarangani province posted the highest coverage with 97 percent, followed by South Cotabato (92 percent), this city (91 percent), Sultan Kudarat (87 percent), Cotabato City (86 percent), and North Cotabato (84 percent).
Panizales said they will expand their house-to-house visits and set up more fixed vaccination points to ensure that they reach out to more unvaccinated children.
“We will go all out with our strategies and more teams will be going to all public convergence areas like markets, shopping malls, and even checkpoints,” she said.
In Sarangani, she said they earlier coordinated with the Army’s 1002nd Brigade to allow the vaccination teams to check if there were unvaccinated children in private and public utility vehicles that were passing by the checkpoints.
DOH aims to achieve at least 95 percent coverage to ensure herd immunity in local communities against the poliovirus, which causes the dreaded poliomyelitis.
Panizales said the second round of the campaign on Jan. 6 to 20 next year will cover children who were not yet immunized and those that were covered during the first round of the campaign. (PNA)