AMID the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the City Government of Davao achieved a 102 percent target of children vaccinated against polio during its fifth and last round polio immunization, surpassing the 95-percent "community immunity" from the virus.
According to the data from the City Health Office, a total of 191,575 children received the oral polio vaccine (OPV) from the two-week "Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio" in the city that was held from July 20 to August 2. The figure exceeded the targeted 186,864 children.
CHO Technical Division Head Dr. Julinda Acosta said the coverage surpassed the ideal 95 percent target, making all the children in the city "shielded" from poliovirus.
"As long as we would reach more than 95 percent, magkakaroon na tayo ng 'herd' or 'community immunity.' At least, kadtong mga wala pa ma-immunized, matagaan na sila og 'shield' or maprotektahan na sila because of that 'population immunity' (We will be able to have a 'herd' or 'community immunity.' At least, those who have not been immunized will be given a 'shield' or protection brought by the 'population immunity')," Acosta said.
Acosta earlier said that the City Government is "determined" to vaccinate all children ages five years and below and complete the final round of the vaccine for free.
She said the fifth round was a bit crucial as they were concerned that the target number of immunized children might not be reached due to the strict health measures imposed due to Covid-19.
"Isa sa mga factor nga nakapa-motivate sa atoang mga healthcare workers ang go signal ni mayor nga ipadayon gihapon ang campaign despite the Covid-19 situation. Dako sab ang tabang sa office sa vice mayor kay sila mismo ang nag-imbita sa mga kapitan sa among online orientation sa Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (One of the factors that motivated our healthcare workers is the go signal of Mayor Duterte-Carpio to continue the campaign despite the Covid-19 situation. The Office of the Vice Mayor also helped in inviting the barangay captains to attend our online orientation on Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio)," she said.
Acosta said the CHO conducted house-to-house immunization, ensuring that strict health protocols are still observed.
She said health workers were provided with personal protective equipment (PPE), face shield, face mask, and sanitizing hand rubs, while doing the immunization.
Acosta added that one of the factors that encouraged parents to avail themselves of the anti-polio vaccine for their children is the realization of the importance of vaccines as protection against diseases.
The Sabayang Patak, a synchronized immunization program, was launched in October 2019 after a water sample from Davao River tested positive for poliovirus.
Although the CHO finished the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio, routine immunizations are still conducted at all health centers. Some of the vaccines offered by CHO are Measles vaccine, Bacillus Calmette-Gue´rin (BCG) vaccine, Diphtheria, and Tetanus vaccine.
Meanwhile, Acosta also called on all senior citizens to avail themselves of the free flu and pneumonia vaccines in their nearest health centers.
Also, girls aged nine to 14 years old are encouraged to avail themselves of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine or anti-cervical cancer vaccine. (With reports from CIO)