Senator Nancy Binay on Thursday called on the Department of Health and the local government units to craft strategies to ramp up the inoculation of routine vaccines for children after Unicef reported that around one million Filipino children missed out on such jabs.
The member of the Senate health and demography committee made the call after the Philippines ranked second highest “zero-dose” country in East Asia and the Pacific Region and fifth across the globe, according to a UNICEF report.
"Sobrang nakakabahala ang balita ng UNICEF. Sa ngayon, parang isang milyong bata ang 'at risk and unprotected' dahil wala sila ni isang bakuna. And with the resurgence of many other diseases plus the new COVID variants, talagang government has to step-up efforts in improving our immunization status,” Binay said.
(The UNICEF report is very alarming. Right now, one million children are at risk and unprotected because they have not received a single dose of routine vaccine. And with the resurgence of many other diseases plus the new COVID variants, the government has to step up its efforts in improving our immunization status.)
“The DOH may also need to revamp its 'patak' strategies and place a stable machinery to ensure the vaccination of one million children in two years max," she added.
Binay said targeting zero-dose children and improving routine immunization coverage at the barangay and school levels can be critical steps in reaching out to the unvaccinated and young population.
"Para may katuwang ang DOH, the LGUs must likewise scale up its response via information campaign to help the public's vaccine confidence and deal with the level of community resistance against having their children vaccinated," Binay stressed.
(The LGUs must likewise scale up its response via information campaigns so it can help the public’s vaccine confidence and deal with the level of community resistance against having their children vaccinated.)
While she acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic had sidetracked routine yet essential health services, the senator said the government cannot use "pandemic fatigue" as a reason not to reach out to vulnerable children.
“Landing fifth in the world and second in East Asia definitely reflects the cost of inaction on zero-dose children. Ang commitment ng gobyerno ay ang maabot ang vaccine equity. But the lack of access to essential vaccines and health services further exposes our children to multiple diseases that may lead to deaths,” she said.
(The commitment of the government is to achieve vaccine equity but the lack of access to essential vaccines and health services further exposes our children to multiple diseases that may lead to deaths.)
She then mentioned that the Senate is committed to investing in public health to prevent problems such as the increase in the number of zero-dose children. —VAL, GMA Integrated News