DOH’s rebooted anti-polio drive: Generally successful
(The Philippine Star) – October 16, 2019 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has described the first day of the second round of its door-to-door vaccination campaign against polio in Metro Manila and parts of Mindanao last Monday as “generally successful.”
Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said that as of 4 p.m. that day, they were able to cover 11 percent of the 1.27-million targeted children in Metro Manila.
“It was generally successful although right now I don’t have the figure for Mindanao. But there was not much resistance to the vaccination,” he noted.
In Davao City, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reported that they were able to vaccinate 15 percent of target beneficiaries. For Davao del Sur province, the rate was seven percent.
He noted that vaccination activities in Lanao del Sur province and Marawi city were delayed due to heavy rains.
“We did not want the health and welfare of the health workers to be compromised so the vaccination there was delayed. But the residents were supportive while the local executives have reiterated their commitments to help,” Duque said.
The health chief expressed confidence that by Oct. 27, when the mass vaccination ends, the DOH would be able to cover 95 percent of children below five years old that were targeted for the program.
In Metro Manila, Domingo noted that vaccinators had difficulty accessing gated communities or subdivisions. To solve the problem, he said the DOH is coordinating with homeowners’ associations so vaccinators will be allowed to carry out the door-to-door immunization campaign.
The other option, he added, is for residents to visit “patak” centers in their area.
Domingo also said the DOH is tapping private pediatricians to “at least” report to the agency the patients who have already received complete vaccination against polio.
Under the anti-polio program, the DOH is giving three doses of oral polio vaccine to all children below five years old in Metro Manila, Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, Davao City and Davao del Sur from Oct 14 to 27.
Another round of vaccination activities will be carried out in all of Mindanao and Metro Manila from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7.
Also scheduled for Mindanao is a vaccination drive from Jan. 6 to 18 next year.
Children in areas not covered by the program can get their anti-polio vaccines at the health centers through routine immunization.
“We are working hard. We are adjusting all of our strategies to make sure that all eligible children are vaccinated,” Domingo maintained.
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