THE Department of Health (DOH) is planning to include Central Visayas in its ongoing school-based dengue vaccination program in public schools.

Health Secretary Janette Garin said they are still in the process of evaluating whether it is feasible to expand the program to Central Visayas public schools.

"We are still evaluating whether we can include them or not. It depends on the available resources," said Garin.

She said they are looking at Central Visayas also due to the prevalence of dengue in the region just like the first three regions involved in the program.

It was back in April 4 when the DOH launched the school-based dengue vaccination drive for Grade 4 pupils aged nine years old in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

As of the latest count, a total of 148,431 pupils out of the 729,260 target beneficiaries have already been given their first dose of dengue vaccine.

Meanwhile, the health chief reminded the public that they are not allowing vaccination to take places even if they are in the regional health units (RHUs) or local health centers.

"We reiterate that we are not allowing any immunization program outside the schools," said Garin.

She explained that this is because opening other sites runs the risk of missing the pre-identified targets of the school-based immunization program versus dengue.

"We already have the identified, targeted recipients. We cannot implement it in the RHUs because we need to give them to those listed as recipients," said Garin. (HDT/Sunnex)