ILOILO CITY – The Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-WV CHD) clarified on Friday that the ongoing mass immunization in the region is for measles-rubella and polio (MR OPV) and not for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Dr. Daphynie Teorima, DOH CHD-6 Child Health and National Immunization Program coordinator, in a virtual press conference, clarified after the department received reports of parents mistaking the measles-rubella oral polio vaccine supplemental immunization activity (MR OPV SIA) to the vaccination against the Covid-19.
“The MR OPV SIA campaign aims to vaccinate children aged 0-59 months old. On the other hand, the Covid-19 vaccination will prioritize front-line health workers and indigent senior citizens,” the DOH said in a statement read by Teorima.
The department hopes that parents and guardians would not confuse the MR OPV SIA from the Covid-19 vaccine.
“There are different target populations for these two different campaigns. In the meantime, let us support the measles-rubella and oral polio vaccination,” the statement added.
Western Visayas was able to immunize 21.73 percent of its target population for MR and 21.27 percent for OPV during the first four days of the inoculation campaign.
Of the 660, 406 target children for MR, 143, 488 were vaccinated while 163, 870 of the 770, 279 received the OPV.
All children 0-59 months will be given the bivalent oral polio vaccine while those nine to 59 months will receive supplemental doses of vaccines for measles-rubella regardless of past immunization record.
Supposedly the region aimed to vaccinate 10 percent of the target population during the 10 days intensive phase of the campaign to be able to complete the vaccination on the 10th day.
The remaining weeks could have been dedicated to reaching out to deferred or missed children.
In both antigens, the province of Guimaras posted the highest accomplishment with 26.11 percent and 27.28 percent for MR and OPV, respectively.
Bacolod City, meanwhile, has the lowest accomplishment at 12.31 percent for MR and 11.81 percent for OPV, although it is starting to catch up.
“Guimaras is the smallest among our provinces; it only has five LGUs (local government units) so it is easier for them to finish compared with larger provinces such as Iloilo and Negros Occidental,” she said.
There was a slowdown in Iloilo City that was implemented amid its high accomplishment in the first days.
Teorima said the threat of Covid-19 is still one of the challenges as the lockdown is still in effect in some LGUs, such as in Passi City in Iloilo.
Other health workers have to cross an overflowing river, such as in Sara, Iloilo, just to bring the vaccines to far-flung places.
“They risked their lives because they know the significance of this activity for children,” she said.
Nonetheless, she said the accomplishment is also a litmus test for the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
With this, she said that they would know how to implement vaccination at this time of the pandemic. (PNA)