The Department of Health on Monday started phase two of its polio and measles immunization drive, in a dry run of the unprecedented COVID-19 vaccination program.
Authorities aims to vaccinate up to five million children nine to 59 months old in the Visayas, National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Southern Tagalog this February.
Children are at higher risk of contracting polio and the rubella virus which causes measles or tigdas.
Here are photos of the vaccination drive Monday at a Brgy. Health Center in Quiapo, Manila.
After almost 20 years of being free of the paralyzing polio virus, it resurfaced in the Philippines in 2019, an outbreak it is still battling apart from coronavirus. A possible measles outbreak which happens almost yearly brings the country a triple threat of viruses in the year, DOH said.
Like COVID, there is no specific treatment for both measles and polio yet, and the only reliable protection so far is vaccination.
“We can only halt an impending measles outbreak and stop the spread of polio if we vaccinate every eligible child. This is challenging but is necessary for the protection of our children," said World Health Organization's Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe.
Together with the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), WHO is helping DOH and other local government units mount the said vaccination program.
“Vaccination saves lives and prevents disabilities from such diseases. These vaccines can give our vulnerable children a good start at life so they can grow into healthy and productive adults. Above all, no child should be left behind,” DOH Sec. Francisco Duque said in a statement.