DOH CL seeks parents’ cooperation in measles, rubella, polio mass vax

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ANGELES CITY — Department of Health (DOH) is soliciting the support of parents and care takers of children to have the highest coverage of vaccination against measles, rubella, and polio.

In today’s regional launching of the measles, rubella, oral polio vaccine supplemental immunization activity (MR-OPV-SIA) in Angeles City, DOH Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo stressed the importance of immunization in disease prevention, especially among children. 

“Immunization saves lives, immunization saves children. Different vaccines, whether supplemental or routine, can translate to less hospitalization and  less debilitating conditions and deaths among children,” he said. 

Bayugo also mentioned the effect of heightened campaign against said diseases in bringing down the number of cases.

“According to our MR surveillance, there were 20,287 cases and 199 deaths reported in 2019. So in response, we conducted a heightened MR SIA campaign in the affected regions which brought down the numbers to 1,189 cases and 10 deaths in 2020. This is equivalent to 82% reduction based on our reported cases and deaths in 2019. For polio myelitis, we also observed a similar trend,” the DOH official said. 

To totally eradicate MR-OP in the country, he said there is also a need to address the challenges that the health sector faces when it comes to vaccines. 

“To successfully implement our campaign, we need to  address the public’s fear of immunization side effects, which is further aggravated by the proliferation of fake news and the socio-economic conditions of Filipino families which hinder them from availing the immunization services. This fear and hesitation has become more evident now more than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bayugo said. 

To address these issues, Angeles City Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting urged parents and care takers to enlist their children in MR-OPV-SIA from February 1-28, as she assured them that vaccinators are all certified and trained, and that minimum public health standards against COVID-19 will be strictly observed. 

“The said vaccine will provide added protection against measles and rubella for children ages 9 months until 5 years old. Oral polio vaccine will also be given to children from newborn until the age of 5 years old. These vaccines are free, safe, and effective in ensuring the health of our children against these diseases,” Cabigting said. 

In addition, DOH Regional Director Cesar Cassion cited that partnership of different stakeholders, including parents and care givers, is crucial in implementing the activity.

“That is really a challenge for all of us not only for health workers but also for parents who are the care givers. It is the responsibility of the parents to provide the best for their children. And one of the best provision is for us to protect them through vaccination. It has been proven time and again that vaccination is an important, safe and effective measure to prevent diseases among children. Through that we can be assured that our country will prosper to a very healthy nation,” Cassion said, 

Meanwhile, World Health Organization Consultant Anthony Omoko committed their continued support to DOH, as he challenged health workers to not stop until every eligible child is vaccinated.

During the event, five Angeleño children also received measles and rubella vaccines and  oral polio vaccine.