Cebu City ranks bottom in number of babies vaccinated against polio, measles in region

CEBU City’s target is to vaccinate 103,819 of its baby population against polio, but only 10,351, or 9.97 percent, have been vaccinated as of Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.

It also falls short of its target to vaccinate 87,921 babies against measles, having vaccinated only 9,120, or 10.37 percent.

The city has the lowest coverage in the vaccination against polio, a life-threatening disease, and measles, a highly contagious infectious disease, among cities and provinces in Central Visayas, based on the data of the Department of Health (DOH) 7.

City Health Department (CHD) officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said factors such as the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the weather and the public’s fear of vaccines contributed to the low immunization rates.

Ibones said they haven’t implemented the vaccination program in 20 of the city’s 80 barangays, including Guadalupe, Tisa, Inayawan and Basak, because these areas have a high number of Covid-19 cases.

He said the city’s ranking may change once they start the vaccination in these barangays on Monday, Feb. 8.

Bad weather has also hampered their recent efforts, he said, adding that there are many areas in barangays that are hard to access, especially when it rains.

However, Ibones believes many have yet to overcome their fear of vaccines arising from the Dengvaxia controversy.

“Atong mga kaigsuonan sad naa pa silay trauma sa dengvaxia. Inig inject nato naay uban di sila magpainject sa ilang mga apo, mga anak, tungod kay nahadlok sila sa experience sa dengvaxia,” he said.

(Many of the residents have been traumatized by what happened with Dengvaxia. Some refuse to let their children and grandchildren be vaccinated because they’re afraid of what will happen to them.)

Some children who had received at least a single dose of the dengue vaccine ended up dying.

Ibones said the CHD still has time to beat its target population considering the program will last until the end of February.

Based on the DOH 7 data, the top performing province in the oral-polio vaccine is Siquijor for vaccinating 27.85 percent of its target population of 9,051.

Other top performing provinces and cities for oral-polio vaccine include Mandaue City which has vaccinated 27.35 percent of its 40,802 target population; Bohol with 23.20 percent of its 142,369 target population; Cebu Province with 18.30 percent of its 330,719 target population; Lapu-Lapu City with 16.82 percent of its 45,926 target population; and Negros Oriental with 15.80 percent of its 142,955 target population.

As to the measles-rubella vaccine, Mandaue City topped the ranking, having vaccinated 28.96 percent of its 34,559 target population.

Siquijor followed with 26.25 percent of its 7,851 target population; Bohol with 23.29 percent of its 121,912 target population; Cebu Province with 17.28 percent of its 280,080 target population; Lapu-Lapu City with 16.08 percent of its 38,896 target population; and Negros Oriental with 15.39 percent of its 121,991 target population. (JJL)


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