ILOILO CITY – The Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH CHD6) targets to cover 770,279 children zero to 59 months old for measles, rubella, and oral polio vaccine supplemental immunization activity (MR OPV SIA) this coming February.
The regional health office, in a press statement, said the scheduled immunization will proceed amid the threat of Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).
Dr. Daphynie Teorima, DOH CHD 6 Child Health and National Immunization Program coordinator, in a virtual press conference Thursday said the target for the free immunization was provided by the central office based on the region’s projected population for 2020.
Under the program, children aged nine to 59 months will be given measles and rubella vaccines while those zero to 59 months old will receive the OPV.
“Our vaccines are safe. These are regulated commodities that undergo clinical trials. Our measles, rubella, and polio vaccines have been perfected since they were produced in the 1930s,” she said.
Although there are several reactions like fever after six to 12 days of the injection and allergy and infection at the injection site as serious reactions, which rarely happen.
Teorima said that the risk is high if children are not vaccinated.
With the case of measles, there is a risk of pneumonia leading to death, hearing defects that could lead to difficulty in learning, and encephalitis.
For rubella, the risk of non-vaccination includes blindness, mental retardation, and heart and liver problems.
“We really aim for the vaccination of children before they reach their fifth birthday,” she added.
To make sure that the coverage is high, Teorima said they have already partnered with stakeholders such as local government units and the Philippine Pediatric Society for the massive information dissemination.
With the threat of Covid-19, the strategy has been modified from what used to be a house-to-house vaccination.
Now, there is a fixed site, such as health centers, with schedules. (PNA)