2 million Filipino children to miss vaccination due to COVID-19
In a statement, UNICEF Philippines representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said that routine immunization should continuously be promoted and implemented despite the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, which has been extended up to May 15.
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2 million Filipino children to miss vaccination due to COVID-19
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday cautioned that some two million Filipino children are likely to miss their regular vaccination due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, UNICEF Philippines representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said that routine immunization should continuously be promoted and implemented despite the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, which has been extended up to May 15.

“With routine immunization services disrupted or suspended, possibly at least two million children below two years old who are most vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases will be affected,” she noted.

UNICEF cited that in the Philippines, childhood immunization coverage has been declining sharply in recent years, from 87 percent in 2014 to 68 percent in 2019, thus “exposing children to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and polio.”

Dendevnorov added the measles outbreak in the Philippines in 2019 saw a “staggering” 130 percent increase in cases compared to the same period in 2018.

Last year, polio re-emerged in the country with 17 confirmed cases, and health experts fear an increase as the polio outbreak response had to be suspended due to COVID-19.

UNICEF has encouraged local government units with no known cases of COVID-19 and who have adequate immunization staff and vaccines to continue immunization activities if feasible.

Dendevnorov said catch-up immunization and intensified immunization activities are deeply needed once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. These vaccination activities must focus on children who missed vaccine doses during this period of interruption and prioritize the poorest and most vulnerable children.

COVID-19 UNICEF
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