By Lino Dela Cruz and Sheila Crisostomo, October 15 2019; Philippine Star

Image Credit to Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) kicked off yesterday the second round of supplemental door-to-door vaccination against polio in some parts of Mindanao and in the entire National Capital Region (NCR) to prevent the spread of the disease.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the synchronized vaccination is meant to boost the immunization coverage against polio by giving all children under five years old three doses of oral polio vaccine.

He reiterated that full vaccination against poliovirus is the “best way to prevent transmission of the disease.”

“We urge all parents and caregivers, health workers and local government units to protect their children and communities against the poliovirus by participating in the synchronized vaccination in high-risk areas in Mindanao and in NCR,” Duque said.

He noted that parents and caregivers should make sure their children receive all the needed vaccines by following their routine immunization schedule. A vaccine-preventable disease, polio is highly contagious and transmitted through the fecal-oral route. It is caused by the poliovirus and may result in life-long paralysis and even death.

Last August, the DOH had embarked on mass vaccination in Manila after finding poliovirus in its sewage system. But this resulted only in a 53.8-percent vaccination rate, a far cry from the 95 percent target.

The following month, the agency declared outbreaks of vaccine-derived poliovirus in two children in Lanao del Sur and Laguna, which marked the return of polio in the country after 19 years.

Health Minister Safrullah Dipatuan of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said the new autonomous region is declaring an all-out war against polio during yesterday’s kick-off of the two-week campaign in Lanao.