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3 million kids eyed in new round of DOH’s polio vaccination campaign


Health authorities are looking to vaccinate some three million children aged five and below in the latest round of the Department of Health’s (DOH) polio vaccination campaign.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the campaign started on Monday, July 20, and will run until August 2 in Mindanao and parts of Central Luzon.

On the first day alone, 634,832 or 8.3 percent of kids aged 5 and below had already been vaccinated, according to Health Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama Jr.

World Health Organization (WHO) country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe also assured the public that safety measures were put in place to protect children from COVID-19 during the campaign.

“We are, within this campaign round, planning to vaccinate more than three million children across Mindanao and the BaSulTa islands, and we are also planning to do vaccination campaigns in Region 3 and parts of Region 4A where we have found evidence of polio virus circulation,” he said.

Abeyasinghe noted that a minimum coverage of 95 percent must be achieved to interrupt polio transmission.

The health authorities urged parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated against polio, which reemerged in the country last year after 19 years.

“Ang iba pang mga vaccine-preventable diseases ay hindi nawala o tumigil sa pagkalat nang dahil sa COVID-19,” Dumama said.

He reported that 22 human polio cases have been recorded in Regions 3, 4A, 10, 12, and BARMM between June 2019 and February 2020.

Dumama also said the DOH saw polio circulation in the waterways in Manila and Davao City.

“I appeal to parents and caregivers and guardians to ensure that all children under five receive their vaccinations… so that we have high coverage and we can interrupt transmission of this polio outbreak and certify the outbreak over,” Abeyasinghe said. —LDF, GMA News