Duque said the “monovalent vaccines” for Type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus arrived from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland last Monday.
New polio vaccination drive set
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - October 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s anti-polio drive needs a restart with vaccines coming from the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said yesterday.

Duque said the “monovalent vaccines” for Type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus arrived from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland last Monday.

He said the vaccines would be included in the Department of Health (DOH)’s door-to-door supplemental vaccination against polio from Oct. 14 to 27 to be conducted in Metro Manila, Marawi City, Laguna, Lanao del Sur, Davao City and Davao del Sur.

The DOH is targeting to vaccinate all children below five years old, regardless of their previous immunization.

“We will vaccinate all eligible children because the administrative costs of asking or looking for the health records (of those already vaccinated) are impracticable,” he said.

Duque admitted that doing so will be difficult and only delay the implementation of the anti-polio vaccination drive.

Duque though gave assurance there will be no overdose of anti-polio vaccines even if those who had already received shots will be immunized again.

In August, the DOH had conducted the door-to-door vaccination campaign in Manila after the water system there yielded Type 2 vaccine-derived polio virus (VDPV).

The following month, the agency had announced the outbreak of Type 2 VDPV in two children in Lanao del Sur and Laguna. This virus had been eradicated worldwide in 2015.

Duque said this development prompted him to request WHO to send monovalent vaccine for Type 2 VDPV to the Philippines to contain the spread of polio in the country.

“In 2016, we shifted from trivalent vaccines to bivalent vaccines or for Types 1 and 3 polio virus. Type 2 has been excluded… In trivalent vaccines, you cover all of the three types of polio,” he added.

Duque said the WHO should have ascertained that polio vaccination coverage in the Philippines is already high before excluding the vaccines for Type 2 virus.

Duque also stressed the need to “re-nationalize” the country’s health care system to complement the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) law.

Duque said a review of the Local Government Code and its provisions is needed, particularly on the devolution of health services from the national government to the local government units (LGUs).

“Sometimes, if health is not priority of (LGUs), programs and services are compromised. If they don’t put enough money, then we have problems,” he said.

Duque cited the vaccination programs for various diseases like measles, polio and diphtheria where implementation is primarily dependent on LGUs.


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