By Zorayda Tecson
ANGELES CITY, Pampanga – The Department of Health (DOH) was recently launched its immunization campaign against measles, rubella, and polio to protect children in Central Luzon against these vaccine-preventable diseases.
This city was chosen to host the regional launch for Phase II of the Measles-Rubella and Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization Activity (MR-OPV SIA) that starts February 1 and ends on the 28th.
The month-long vaccination in the region will target at least 95% of eligible children in the region. A total of 967,997 infants and children aged 9-59 months will be administered with measles-rubella vaccine and 1,133,017 children aged 0-59 months will get bivalent oral polio vaccine regardless of immunization status.
Those who attended the launching event were DOH Undersecretary Gerardo V. Bayugo led the guests who attended the launch, which included DOH Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOH CLCHD) Director Cesar C. Cassion, World Health Organization (WHO) consultant Dr. Anthony Omoko, City Health Officer Verona Guevarra, and city and regional health workers.
“Let us educate the parents, the caregivers, our local government units, and the community about this campaign, especially our children because this is for them since they are the future of our country. No children must be left behind towards a good future,” Bayugo said.
Omoko, for his part, said “I would like to encourage my colleagues; we must not stop until we were able to vaccinate the last eligible children.”
During the event, five children received measles and rubella and oral polio vaccines. Angeles City Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting emphasized the need to protect children against these diseases especially during this time of the pandemic.
“Amid the pandemic, we continue to face other diseases such as measles, rubella and polio that threaten our society, especially the lives of our children. To ensure the health of our young residents, I would like to invite our parents and caretakers to enlist their children in the MR-OPV SIA,” Cabigting said.
Cassion assured health protocols will be implemented during the entire duration of the immunization campaign to prevent transmission of Covid-19 in the community.
“Immunization is an indisputable human right. It is one of the essential health services needed to be delivered promptly especially to protect the population from outbreaks,” Cassion said.
From 2016-2019, the number of fully immunized children in Central Luzon ranged only from 64-70% of the target. The DOH CLCHD said consistent low coverage of routine immunization may result in the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, rubella and polio.
From July to September 2020, children under five years old in Central Luzon were given two doses of monovalent oral polio vaccine, in response to the confirmed polio type 2 case in Nueva Ecija.
Cassion, however, said there is a further need to provide additional protection against other types of polio viruses.
He said that outbreaks of the vaccine-preventable diseases could be catastrophic for communities already battling the impact of Covid-19. (PNA)