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DOH launches children vaccination drive vs. measles, rubella, polio

The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday kicked off a nationwide supplemental immunization campaign to vaccinate children against measles, rubella, and polio.

During the launch at San Juan City, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire underscored the importance of the “Chikiting Ligtas 2023” in informing and encouraging Filipino children to get vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases that continue to exist in the country.

"One of the Department’s evergreen goals is to protect our children from vaccine-preventable diseases, and these include measles, rubella, and polio,”  Vergeire said.

“This is also a time to renew public trust in the value of all vaccines and continue to build long-term support and awareness for immunization, as vaccines have proven to be critical in containing or limiting outbreaks of infectious diseases,” she added.

DOH earlier said the supplemental immunization activities for children will be held on May 2 to 31.

The agency targets to vaccinate at least 9.5 million children from nine to 59 months old against measles, while 11 million children from zero to 59 months old will also be vaccinated against polio.

Dr. Rui Paulo De Jesus, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to the Philippines, also called on families to give children access to life-saving vaccines.

“Vaccines are free, safe, and effective in keeping them healthy. By keeping up to date with vaccines, you are giving your children a shot at a brighter future,” he said.

Based on a UNICEF report, the Philippines has one million zero-dose children. This is the second highest in East Asia and the Pacific Region, and the fifth highest globally.

The country’s perception of the importance of vaccines for children also declined by 25% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOH said it would allocate funds for the Centers for Health Development’s hiring of vaccinators, risk communications and advocacy activities; and the delivery of vaccines and other supplies for the conduct of the campaign.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and WHO also assisted in procuring vaccines, deploying additional health staff, engaging with communities to address hesitancy and misinformation, and building cold chain capacities, among others. —NB, GMA Integrated News