Iloilo City targets 49K kids for immunization vs. measles, polio

Iloilo City targets 49K kids for immunization vs. measles, polio

ILOILO CITY – Iloilo City targets to include 49,322 children zero to 59 months old for the measles rubella, oral polio vaccine supplemental immunization activity (MR OPV SIA) next month.

“Despite the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, we need this quality supplemental immunization activity to stop the outbreak of measles and to avoid polio recirculation in the community,” said Dr. Maria Jennifer Anceno, National Immunization Program (NIP) manager, in a press conference Thursday.

The target is 95-percent coverage to achieve herd immunity. If they can reach 90 percent of the target children in just 10 days, they can immunize 46,855 with the help of their 102 vaccination teams, she said.

Under the supplemental immunization 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.

To reach their target, the CHO will conduct the immunization in fixed and temporary fixed posts as house to house immunization is discouraged.

The fixed posts are health facilities that will be opened daily during the entire duration of the campaign while the temporary fixed posts could be gymnasiums, schools, and churches.

The temporary fixed posts are designed so as not to overwhelm the venue, Anceno said.

The venue will also have a triage area for screening and quick assessment.

“The first two weeks will be our intensive and simultaneous vaccination,” she said. The target children have been pre-identified by barangay health workers (BHWs) and health staff.

The third and fourth weeks of February will be dedicated to mapping up to reach out to those missed children during the first two weeks.

“We will not leave any child unvaccinated,” Anceno said.   

A surge in cases of measles was recorded in the city in 2018 and 2019.

Anceno said those who got sick of measles in 2019 were from the age group of one to five years old, the same age group that is the target of this year’s supplemental immunization.

In 2019, she said 83.3 percent of the target population was vaccinated.

While City Proper, Molo and Lapaz districts recorded the highest accomplishment at 102 percent, 99 and, 93 percent, respectively, Arevalo, Mandurriao and Lapuz posted a low turnout. 

Anceno said while vaccines have side effects, these will be outweighed by their benefits. Parents only have to think that vaccines are safe and effective.

She noted that once there is an outbreak, it would be difficult to stop. (PNA)

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