By J. Jala | 04:14 PM February 01, 2021
The Department of Health (DOH) launched here on Monday, February 1, 2021, its immunization campaign against measles, rubella, and polio to protect children against these vaccine-preventable diseases.
Tagbilaran City was chosen to host the provincial launching for Phase II of the Measles-Rubella and Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization Activity (MR-OPV SIA) that will start on Feb. 1 until the 28th.
The month-long vaccination in the region will target at least 95 percent of eligible children in the province.
Health protocols will be implemented during the entire duration of the immunization campaign to prevent transmission of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the community.
The infection prevention control measures include wearing of face masks, use of alcohol-based sanitizer among children, temperature checks, physical distancing, and daily screening of health workers.
The Philippines who has been Polio free for the past 20 years saw its first record of Polio disease last year. Last 2018-2019 there are around 700,000 cases of Measles and Rubella recorded and 841 of those were deaths. Every year there are around 2.2 million new born children and 1,114,882 will be vulnerable children for the year 2020-2021.
According to data from the Department of Health, the rapid decline of parents having their children vaccinated since 2016, last 2018, 3 out 10 children in the country have not even completed their vaccination against polio which was one of the few reasons why such a preventable diseases like Measles, Rubella and Polio saw its comeback and will wreck a possible outbreak if not prevented.
That is why the Department of Health in support with World Health Organization, UNICEF and Relief International kicks off its supplemental immunization activity this year until 2021.
Phase 1 of the campaign which was done last Oct. 26 – Nov. 25, 2020 targeted the areas of Mindanao, Region 1, 2, 3 and 4 B hit the target immunization rate of 95% for all eligible children between age 0-59 months.
This year, an early preparation was already on set to help the areas of Region 4A, NCR and all of Visayas including Region 7 to prepare the Barangays and Health workers for the kick off of Phase 2 on February 1-28, 2021.
Relief International which is a humanitarian NGO, with 19 office all around the world will be assisting all the regions in preparing their areas for the immunization activity.
The organization are already in coordination with the localities to prepare their micro plans and help identify areas that needs to be targeted as they are hard to reach and high-risk.
Along with that, RI has been supporting DOH in widening its awareness campaigns through conduct of Radio and TV interviews, ad placement, production of Tarpaulins, posters and other visibility collaterals.
What is Polio?
Polio or also known as poliomyelitis is an incurable disease that is cause by polio virus. The virus enters the body through the mouth. It spread through contact with the feces (stool) of an infected person or through exposure to phlegm or mucus when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It attacks the spinal cord and may affect the muscle nerves specially the thighs and feet until it cannot be moved and may be paralyze for good. It can also paralyze the diaphragm or the breathing muscle that may cause the patient to have difficulty in breathing that may lead to death. It can be easily transmitted and anyone can be infected but this is more dangerous to children.
What is measles?
It is a severe illness caused by measles virus that can spread easily to others through coughing and sneezing. Also, measles virus can live for up to 2 hours in the an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. It may caused graive complications such as blindness, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), infection in the ear and pneumonia.
What is rubella?
Also known as German measles, it is higjly contagious and best known for its distinctive red rash. It can cause serious problems to pregnant mothers.
The diseases are incurable but can be prevented by having the right vaccination. For over 40 years, this vaccines have been proven effective and safe for our children. In case of outbreak or possible outbreaks, children below 5 years old should be given necessary additional dose of vaccines.
Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic
There is a possible threats of measles outbreak while the rubella and polio cases are increasing. Immunization activities are also being hampered with the threat of Covid-19 in some areas. When all this happens, we cannot afford to exhaust our tired health frontliners to face a possible outbreaks while still in pandemic. The supplemental immunization activity is a necessary move to prevent such scenarios from happening.
There is nothing to worry for our parents and care givers who will have their children vaccinated come this February 1-28, 2021 as our health care providers and vaccinators will follow the specified minimum health protocols such as physical distancing, wearing of mask and sanitizing with alcohol. Parents are also encourage to wear their mask when going to the vaccination post and only one parent or guardian is allowed to accompany the children.