Advice to travelers: Get polio vaccination

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TRAVELERS are advised to get polio vaccination.

Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) official Dr. Wilson Lim said those who will be traveling not later than four weeks before their scheduled flights are recommended to receive a single dose of inactive poliovirus vaccine (IPV).

Lim said this also applies to foreign nationals and returning Filipinos of all ages who intend to stay in the country for four weeks.

He said, though, that not all countries are required to secure vaccination record from all passengers, but he said since the Philippines recently declared a "polio outbreak," as announced by the Department of Health (DOH) in September, the country is stricter in ensuring that all passengers going in and out of the country should be secured.

Davao City has also been strict since a sample of the virus was traced in Davao River near Bolton Bridge.

"We recommend that before you depart, at least you get vaccinated before your scheduled travel to avoid inconveniences in your travel," Lim said in his speech last October 22.

He said their agency is vaccinating foreigners and travelers, particularly overseas foreign workers.

Lim said their schedule of vaccination at their office along Ramon Magsaysay Avenue corner Chavez Street is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

He said while the vaccination is free, they are charging a yellow card worth P300, wherein it will indicate that the traveler has been vaccinated.

He also said child travelers need to have vaccination records checked.

Lim said adult travelers also need to fill up forms and respond to questionnaires to determine if the person has allergies, asthma, pregnancy, drinking anti-immune-suppressant drugs, and cancer.

Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, in her privilege speech on October 22, said travelers leaving the country have to follow its immunization requirements.

"They are encouraged to check the immunization requirements of the country they are going to, and if required, receive a dose of IPV before departure and get their International Certificate of Vaccination from the BOQ to serve as a proof of their vaccination," Villafuerte said.

City Health Office (CHO) technical division chief Julinda Acosta said although she personally have not fully read the guidelines of the BOQ regarding the recommendation for vaccination, she said the health office is supporting the move.

"If other countries are requiring us that before visiting their country, there should be an immunization, in the same way, those who visit the country must see to it that they are also vaccinated," Acosta said.

She also said the CHO will support it if the City Council will lobby for an ordinance requiring foreigners to be vaccinated.


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