Free polio vaccines available – PHO

Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - September 24, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Amid the resurgence of the polio virus in the Philippines, health officials in Cebu are encouraging parents to have their children vaccinated.

Provincial Health Office chief Dr. Christina Giango said parents should inquire with their respective city or municipal rural health units where the vaccine is given for free.

Giango said mass vaccinations have been scheduled in these RHUs for the month of October.

Last September 19, the Department of Health confirmed the first case of polio in the country after 19 years, courtesy of a three-year-old girl in Lanao del Sur who tested positive with the disease.

Polio is a viral illness that causes liminal paralysis, difficulty in breathing and death.

It can be transmitted through person-to-person contact, contact with infected bodily fluids such as mucus, phlegm and feces and contaminated food.

The disease, according to PHO, does not have a cure yet, which is why the office is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated.

“Atong giawhag ang mga ginikanan nga ila gyung dad-on ilang mga anak para magpa-immunize (We strongly urge the parents to have their children immunized),” Giango said, adding the vaccine are effective to preventing the disease.

For 2019, the PHO expects to achieve a 95 percent vaccination rate for polio, translated to about 37,000 individuals. Of that number, some 26,000 individuals have been vaccinated or 70.51 percent of the goal.

Last year, the office logged 67.72 percent vaccination rate out of the target 73,000 individuals. Giango attributed the low turnout to the Dengvaxia scare.

This time, Giango is confident that the number would rise considering the trend that more parents have renewed their interest in having their children vaccinated.

Nevertheless, she said her office will work harder to achieve its target.

The anti-polio vaccine comes in three doses. The Oral Poliovirus Vaccine is ideally administered on an infant age one month and a half, and then the second dose when the infant turns two months and a half.

The Injectable Poliovirus Vaccine, on the other hand, will then be administered when the infant reaches three months and a half. (FREEMAN)

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