Nationwide measles, rubella, polio vaccination starts on October 26

                                      Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (FILE PHOTO)

QUEZON CITY, October 8, (PIA) The Department of Health (DOH) announced the start of the nationwide Measles Rubella - Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization (MR-OPV SIA) activity on October 26.

The activity will be conducted in two phases. Phase 1 will be conducted from 26 October to 25 November 2020 in Mindanao Regions, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley Region, MIMAROPA Region, and Bicol Region. While Phase 2 will be conducted in February 2021 in Visayas Regions, National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON.

The vaccine will be given to children below five years old. Measles - Rubella vaccine will be given to children 9-59 months old while 0-59 months old will be provided with oral Polio vaccine.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a high-quality immunization activity is urgently needed to avert a possible measles outbreak in 2021 and halt the ongoing polio recirculation in communities. We encourage parents and caregivers to have their children immunized”, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said. He emphasized that measles, rubella and polio vaccines are safe, effective and free.

During the DOH Presser on October 7, DOH Program Manager Dr. Wilda Tagudan Silva said that, parents and caregivers are highly encourage to have their children fully vaccinated in designated modified vaccination posts that will be placed at strategic points which will be announced by their respective local government. She added that this is because, there will be no house-to-house vaccination that will be conducted.

The DOH recalled that during the measles outbreak in 2018 to 2019, 70,000 cases and 841 deaths, mostly children, were recorded.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world. About 9 out of 10 people exposed to the measles virus who are not immune will contract the disease. It can cause high-grade fever, rashes, cough, eye infection and can lead to complications such as pneumonia, ear infection, blindness, severe diarrhea, and swelling of the brain.

Polio, on the other hand, is a potentially debilitating disease that causes fever, neck stiffness, muscle weakness and can eventually lead to lifelong paralysis.

According to DOH, there is an ongoing outbreak of polio with cases reported from Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance and presence of environmental samples with poliovirus. If severe enough, both diseases can ultimately lead to death. There is no specific treatment for these illnesses. The only reliable protection is through vaccination.

Duque said all healthcare workers who will conduct the immunization have been trained on infection prevention and control and provided with personal protective equipment (PPE)  to ensure protection against COVID-19 infections,

“Vaccines save lives and prevent disabilities from diseases. Vaccines give our children a good start at life so they can grow to be healthy, productive adults in the future. Therefore, no child should be left behind, no child should die!” Duque said. (PIA-NCR)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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