South Cotabato’s health personnel have immunized a total of 107,642 infants and children in the initial round of the Mindanao-wide synchronized mass polio vaccination campaign.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., chief of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office, said Wednesday the number represents 93.79 percent vaccination rate for the 114,774 identified recipients for the “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” conducted from November 25 to December 13.
Aturdido said six of the province’s 10 towns and lone city reached a total coverage of at least 95 percent, the targeted rate to achieve herd immunity in local communities: Norala with 99.90 percent, Tboli with 99.62 percent, Tampakan with 99.23 percent, Sto. Nino with 98.13 percent, Surallah with 96.34 percent, and Banaga with 95.14 percent.
Koronadal City posted a total coverage of 93.45 percent, Tupi with 92.5 percent, Polomolok with 90.31 percent, Lake Sebu with 87.50 percent and Tantangan with 86.52 percent.
“Although we have not reached the 95 percent herd immunity target, we were able to cover all our barangays and communities,” Aturdido told reporters.
The official said among the identified gaps in the initial campaign during their post-polio vaccination implementation review include the province’s boundary issues, limited manpower, refusal of some parents and religious groups to have their children vaccinated, and uncooperative private pediatricians.
They also faced problems with the low quality of indelible inks used to mark the vaccinated children, confusion with the interpretation of guidelines and the non-uniform marking of covered houses, he said.
“Our vaccinators had difficulty carrying the heavy vaccine carriers, some got sick during the campaign and others were bitten by dogs and suffered from heatstroke,” he said.
Aturdido said they set some interventions to address these gaps in preparation for the second round of the immunization activities scheduled on Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, 2020. (PNA)