SAN FERNANDO CITY, Oct. 25 (PIA) - As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Department of Health (DOH), together with the National Task Force Against COVID-19, the Ilocos Center for Health and Development and the local government unit of La Union, has launched on Thursday the nationwide measles, rubella and oral polio vaccine supplemental immunization activity (MR-OPV SIA) in this city.
DOH Undersecretary, Dr. Gerardo Bayugo said, "Lahat ng bata ay dapat mabakunahan maski nabakunahan na in the previous years kasi gusto natin sabay-sabay na may proteksyon 'yong ating mga bata. Mayroon din tayong binibigay na boosters kasi kinakailangan ito dahil may panahon na bumababa ang resistensya, bumababa ang proteksyon kaya nagbibigay ng booster. Gusto natin lahat sabay-sabay para lahat ay sabay-sabay na protektado at hindi nakakalat kung anumang sakit sa ating kapaligiran at sa ating mga kabataan."
The DOH, together with its partner agencies - World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund, will implement the nationwide MR-OPV SIA in two phases in order to prevent measles outbreak in the coming months and to end the currently ongoing polio virus transmission and recirculation in the country.
Phase 1 will be conducted from October 26 until November 25, 2020 in Mindanao regions, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley Region, MIMAROPA Region, and the Bicol Region.
On the other hand, Phase 2 will be conducted in February 2021 in Visayas regions, National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON.
Measles rubella vaccine will be given to children aged nine to 59 months old while zero to 59 months old will be provided with oral polio vaccine.
Dr. Bayugo said there will be no house-to-house vaccination that will be conducted, but parents and caregivers can have their children fully vaccinated in designated modified vaccination posts or health centers that will be placed at strategic points which will be announced by their respective local government.
He added that all healthcare workers who will conduct the immunization have been trained on infection prevention and control and provided with personal protective equipment to ensure safety of the health workers, parents and children.
Likewise, he said that minimum health standards will be observed during the immunization activity.
"Nakamask, kung pupuwede naka-face shield, may distansya doon sa magpapatak, malayo at hindi nakadikit, hindi dikit-dikit 'yong mga nanay at 'yong mga taong nag-aabang ng pagbabakuna. Ito ay kasama na sa training na ginagawa at isinagawa para masiguro ang proteksyon hindi lang ng ating mga health workers but pati 'yong proteksyon ng mga nanay at mga bata na target nating mabakunahan," he said.
Meanwhile, DOH Assistant Secretary, Dr. Maria Francia Laxamana assured that the DOH Regional Office, in coordination with Provincial Health Offices and City/Municipal Health Offices, has hired vaccinators purposely for the immunization campaign and will not mobilize the health workers attending to communities with COVID-19 cases.
The DOH urged the parents and caregivers to participate in the vaccination program that would defend their children from vaccine-preventable diseases and emphasized that measles, rubella and polio vaccines are safe, effective and free.
While there remains a negative effect of the controversial anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in the government's immunization program, the DOH continues to educate the public on the importance of vaccination.
"Ang istratehiya natin na ginagawa sa mga magulang na nagrefuse na pabakunahan ang kanilang mga anak ay binabalikan sila ng vaccination team at ipapaliwanag ulit sa kanila ang kahalagahan ng pagbabakuna. Importante ang knowledge and awareness na maibigay ng bawat isa sa atin sa mga magulang at guardian," Dr. Laxamana said. (JCR/AMB/PIA Ilocos Sur)