The regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) in Mimaropa has announced that they will hold a month-long National Measles, Rubella, and Polio Supplemental Immunization Activity to children who are five years old and below.
This activity will immunize at least 95 percent of all children who are nine months to less than five years old of age with MR vaccine. All children who are under five years old will be administered OPV.
The DOH Mimaropa will begin a series of social mobilization activities targeting stakeholders who can lend support to the campaign. This will be from October 26 to November 25, 2020.
Children who are zero to 59 months will be given the bivalent Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV), while those who are nine to 59 months will be given supplemental doses of vaccines of Measles-Rubella (MR).
The DOH said that as of October 4, 2020, MIMAROPA region has already recorded some 272 cases of measles with one death. Almost all of these cases have been among children under five years old.
The DOH said that they have been vigilant in preventing measles, rubella, and poliomyelitis–diseases that are highly contagious, and may lead to grave complications including permanent disability and death. However, they can be prevented through vaccinations.
DOH MIMAROPA Regional Director, Dr. Mario Baquilod admitted of the presence of an “imminent outbreak” of measles and polio in the country and in the region, if not acted accordingly.
“There is a need to respond to the situation immediately to protect children through vaccination. They should suffer or die from these diseases the vaccines that prevent them are available and have been proven safe and effective,” he said.
Dir. Baquilod emphasized that preventing the outbreak is a strategic action.
“From January to June 2020, three out of four children have not received at least one dose of measles containing vaccines,” he said. “Preventing a measles outbreak from happening rather than responding to one is a strategic action. We cannot afford to response to multiple disease outbreak,” Dir. Baquilod added.
Dr. Matthew Medrano of DOH-MIMAROPA explained that the objective of the vaccination is to interrupt the transmission of poliovirus and measles-rubella (MR) by ensuring 95 percent of infants/ children ages 0-59 months in each barangay, municipality of city are vaccinated with bivalent oral poliovirus vaccines (Bopv) and measles-rubella (MR) vaccine regardless of past immunization status Regardless of polio immunization.
“Wala pang polio sa ating region. Currently may polio outbreak po tayo, wala lang sa ating region. Habang maaga ay mapigilan na natin ang polio. Dapat kompleto ang bakuna sa lahat ng barangay, munisipyo, city,” he explained.
Dr. Medrano said that the country at a high risk of nationwide measles outbreak because of the unprotected/ unvaccinated children. If large measles outbreak occur, health system may collapse in the middle of Covid-19 response.
He said that the vaccination activity this October 2020 in Mimaropa has been approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Covid-19,
“Approved na po ng IATF ang gagawing immunization at naglabas na po sila ng resolution,” Dr. Medrano said.