Mass vaccination vs polio begins October 14

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THE Department of Health (DOH) is set to begin on Monday, October 14, the synchronized polio vaccination in selected areas in the country.

In a statement, DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire renewed the government's call for parents and guardians to have their children administered the oral polio vaccine (OPV) during the two-week activity, from October 14 to 27.

"There is no cure for polio. It can only be prevented with three doses of the polio vaccine that are safe and effective,” said Vergeire.

"Vaccination is the best way to protect your child against vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio," she added.

For the first phase of the immunization drive, the DOH said children below five years old shall be the ones given the OPV during the door-to-door endeavor.

Identified as priority areas are the National Capital Region, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Sur, Marawi City, and Davao City.

According to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, all children under five years old will be given OPV regardless of their immunization records.

"We will vaccinate all eligible children because the administrative costs of asking or looking for the health records of those already vaccinated is impracticable," said Duque in an earlier interview.

For its part, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) declared its readiness to provide assistance to the DOH in the polio immunization campaign.

In a statement, PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said Red Cross volunteers from Metro Manila and Mindanao chapters are already prepared to help in administering OPV to targeted children.

"It is through the power of pool of volunteers that the Red Cross can help our partners in fighting polio," said Gordon.

He related that those participating in the mass immunization have already undergone training on proper handling and distribution of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) as well as the correct way of disposing of the OPV vials.

They were also briefed on the updates and initiatives of the government concerning polio.

"The information learned from this training session will be disseminated to other PRC chapters’ staff and volunteers, who will assist in administering OPV to children," said Gordon.

Last month, the DOH confirmed a case of poliovirus involving a three-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur.

This prompted the Health department to declare a polio epidemic, explaining that even just one case can be considered as an outbreak in a polio-free country. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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