Domingo said the DOH is mounting the synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign until Feb. 2 in all regions of Mindanao.
Michael Varcas/ File
House to probe return of polio
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives intends to investigate the reemergence of polio in the country and will summon Department of Health (DOH) officials to explain the apparent failure of the government’s vaccination program.

“Many questions about the program need to be answered after a child in Quezon City was recently diagnosed to have polio despite undergoing vaccination,” Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo, an administration ally, said over the weekend. 

“The DOH should explain why polio remains persistent in the country despite the program. I would like to know from DOH how many polioviruses out there are threatening our children and how many vaccines do they have to protect them,” she added.

Castelo, vice chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, quoted reports that there are polioviruses 1, 2 and 3. Apparently, the child in Quezon City was administered with vaccines 1 and 3, but had “no protection” for poliovirus 2 which hit him. 

“Aside from 1, 2 and 3, are there more polioviruses that our children need to be protected from. If so, do we have the vaccines against them? The more pressing question is: can DOH implement a complete polio vaccination program?” Castelo asked.

Last week, the total number of polio cases in the country rose to 16 since an outbreak was declared in September 2019. Government has since reimplemented its anti-polio vaccine program.

The outbreak came 20 years after polio was believed to have been completely eradicated in the country. No cure has been recorded for polio, whose symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pains, constipation, fever and lethargy.

For Rep. Bernadette Herrera of party-list Bagong Henerasyon, the government’s anti-polio drive must be “more thorough” and that both the national and local government units should, at the same time, address the underlying causes of poverty. 

Vaccination resumes  in Mindanao today

Meanwhile, the DOH is set to resume today the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign in Mindanao, said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

He said the focus of the campaign is in Mindanao, where most of the 16 polio cases have been recorded.

Domingo said the DOH is mounting the synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign until Feb. 2 in all regions of Mindanao. 

Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque reported that the DOH is hoping for a 95-percent coverage in all the target areas to attain herd immunity. 

“The outbreak must be put to a halt. And we can only do this if all of the target population are reached and vaccinated every round of immunization,” Duque explained.         

All parents and caregivers of children under five years old are encouraged to take part in the vaccination campaign rounds scheduled in Mindanao. 

Duque stressed that additional polio doses can provide extra protection to children and there is no overdose with the oral polio vaccine. 

Last year, the DOH launched two rounds of polio immunization in Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, Davao del Sur, and Davao City; and one round in the whole of Mindanao.

Two additional rounds in the entirety of Mindanao are also set on Feb. 17 to March 1; and March 23 to April 4.  

Meanwhile, the DOH is set to resume today the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign in Mindanao, said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

He said the focus of the campaign is in Mindanao, where most of the 16 polio cases have been recorded.

Domingo said the DOH is mounting the synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign until Feb. 2 in all regions of Mindanao. 

Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque reported that the DOH is hoping for a 95-percent coverage in all the target areas to attain herd immunity. 

“The outbreak must be put to a halt. And we can only do this if all of the target population are reached and vaccinated every round of immunization,” Duque explained.         

All parents and caregivers of children under five years old are encouraged to take part in the vaccination campaign rounds scheduled in Mindanao. 

Duque stressed that additional polio doses can provide extra protection to children and there is no overdose with the oral polio vaccine. 

Last year, the DOH launched two rounds of polio immunization in Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, Davao del Sur, and Davao City; and one round in the whole of Mindanao.

Two additional rounds in the entirety of Mindanao are also set on Feb. 17 to March 1; and March 23 to April 4. - With Mayen Jaymalin

BERNADETTE HERRERA DOH
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