Pandemic hampers polio vax drive

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    THE coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is hampering efforts by the Department of Health to immunize 5.1 million children for measles-rubella and 4.7 million kids for polio.

    In a virtual press briefing, DOH-Disease Prevention and Control Bureau head Dr. Beverly Ho said their target for February is to immunize 1,379,601 kids against measles and rubella and 1,295,496 children against polio.

    So far, however, Ho said the DOH has just inoculated 3,721,186 (73%) out of the 5,100,787 targeted kids.

    Ho said their vaccination drive has been slowed down by the pandemic, especially in areas that are under strict lockdown.

    “Unfortunately for some of the (target) barangays, there have been increases in COVID-19 cases. Some areas are on lockdown, and that compromised the ability of our vaccinators to go into those areas,” she explained.

    The vaccination drive for measles covers the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas while the target areas for the polio vaccine are Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas.

    Ho said those who won’t be covered by the immunization campaign can avail of the vaccines in their local health centers.