The Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOH CLCHD) is appealing to parents and caregivers to avail of free measles, rubella, and polio vaccines for their children starting next month.
The month-long vaccination program in the region will start on Feb. 1, targeting at least 95 percent of infants and children aged 9-59 months for measles-rubella vaccine and bivalent oral polio vaccine for those aged 0-59 months regardless of the immunization status.
Cesar Cassion, DOH- Central Luzon regional director, said on Monday that the campaign aims to give children protection against the measles, rubella, and polio varius.
He said the DOH CLCHD has collaborated with various stakeholders to strengthen the support and increase social mobilization activities prior to the start of the campaign.
They include partners from government agencies, the private sector, including the Philippine Pediatric Society, Philippine Medical Association, Philippine Academy of Family Physicians, Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines, local chief executives, community leaders, faith-based groups and the media.
Cassion said health protocols will be implemented during the campaign to prevent transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the community.
The infection prevention control measures include wearing of face masks, use of alcohol-based among children, temperature checks, physical distancing, and daily screening of health workers.
From 2016-2019, the range of fully immunized children in Central Luzon ranged only from 64-70 percent.
The DOH CLCHD said that consistent low coverage of routine immunization may result in the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, rubella and polio.
From July to September 2020, children under five years old in Central Luzon were given two doses of monovalent oral polio vaccine, in response to the confirmed polio type 2 case in Nueva Ecija.
However, Cassion said there is a further need to provide additional protection against other types of polio viruses.
He said that outbreaks of the vaccine-preventable diseases could be catastrophic for communities already battling the impacts of Covid-19 and substantively increase sickness and fatalities.
“The DOH CLCHD urges all parents and caregivers of children under five years old to take part in the campaign. Have their children, including those with private physicians or pediatricians, vaccinated by health workers,” he said in a statement.
The DOH CLCHD also assured the public that the vaccines used in the government’s immunization campaign against measles-rubella and polio are safe and effective.
The vaccines are recommended by the World Health Organization and approved by the Food and Drug Administration. (PNA)