DOH-5 urges parents to have children vaccinated vs polio
By Danica D. Caballero
LEGAZPI CITY (PIA) – To prevent the spread of polio virus in Bicol region, the Department of Health here (DOH-5) is urging parents to have their children vaccinated against the viral disease.
Parents can have their children immunized for free with the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) in barangay health centers across the region. The OPV is part of the DOH routine immunization program which is given in three doses before a child reaches one year old.
There are also catch-up immunizations to those who failed to receive the vaccine.
Dr. Ernie V. Vera, DOH-5 director, emphasized that the best preventive measure against the disease is the completion of three shots of the OPV and one shot of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) for infants before turning one year old.
Vera said they have stepped up the polio surveillance system, particularly for children below five years old who developed sudden onset of muscle weakness or paralysis of the upper and lower extremities.
He appealed to all health service providers to deliver quality health services through routine and catch-up immunization.
“For the past three years (2016 to 2018), the OPV immunization in Region 5 was 44 percent, 72 percent, and 74 percent respectively, which was way below the target 95 percent required of a population to develop herd immunity,” said Vera.
Herd immunity occurs when a significant portion of a population provides protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.
The DOH-5 will also involve local officials in policy legislation on the strict implementation of the "Zero Open Defecation" program.
The polio virus is transmitted when there is poor environmental sanitation and hygiene.
In a recent statement, the DOH epidemiology bureau revealed that Philippines was at high-risk for polio virus transmission. (PIA-5)