Anti-polio vaccination coverage hits 95.4 %

Pia Lee-Brago, Pia Lee Brago (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA , Philippines —Anti-polio immunization coverage reached 95.4 percent after a two-week synchronized campaign in Metro Manila and Mindanao, the Department of Health (DOH) reported yesterday.

“(Data) is still subject to validation, but we have reached 95.4 percent... It’s a pretty good coverage... We have reached our target,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

 Duque said Metro Manila posted a higher coverage of 96 percent of its target 1.2 million children under five years old.

He said various areas in Mindanao recorded an average of 93.6 percent immunization coverage. The drive targeted around 700,000 children.

Duque said Lanao del Sur and Davao posted a 96 percent coverage.

“Coverage in Davao City is 101 percent... We commend the leadership of the city for not only reaching but exceeding its target,” he said.

Duque cited the cooperation of local goverment units, the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund for the successful anti-polio immunization drive.

The WHO said 60 percent of vaccinated Filipino children are still unprotected and could still acquire the type 2 poliovirus.

WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said only 40 percent of vaccinated children were injected with the vaccine which had components against type 2 poliovirus.

Three doses

The WHO said children should receive three doses of oral polio vaccine and one injectable to be fully protected from the three types of poliovirus.

Type 2 polio component is not present in the oral polio vaccine because the virus has been eradicated worldwide.

The WHO said 95 percent of children population should be fully immunized to be protected from the virus, which could survive after being excreted.

Three polio cases have been confirmed in the country since the disease reemerged in September after 19 years.

Travelers to Indonesia

Meanwhile, Filipino travelers who intend to stay in Indonesia for at least four weeks should be immunized against polio and present an international certificate of vaccination.

The Philippine embassy in Jakarta said Indonesian port health offices would implement the anti-polio measures starting Nov. 1.

Those without proof of immunization can be vaccinated at the port of entry for around $13 or face deportation.          

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