Polio vaccine drive in Regions 3, 4A fail to meet target coverage

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    CITING the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health yesterday reported that the synchronized polio immunization campaign in Central Luzon and in parts of Calabarzon has failed to meet its target coverage.

    Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said under the first round of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio in Region 3 and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal in Region 4A, the target of 95 percent vaccination coverage of children under 5 years old was not met.

    “With the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges in conducting an effective polio outbreak response immunization are numerous and unprecedented,” said Duque.

    The DOH said that Central Luzon registered an immunization coverage of 80.6 percent (Phase 1) and 81.39 percent (Phase 2) in Region 3. The three provinces of Calabarzon tallied 81.71 percent (Phase 1) and 70.88 percent (Phase 2) immunization coverage.

    Last July, the DOH launched the polio immunization drive in a phased approach in Region 3 and in the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal in Region 4A.

    Despite this initial setback, Duque said they are pushing through with the second round of SPKP from September 14 to 27.

    He challenged the health workers and vaccinators to meet the desired immunization coverage just like the previous campaigns of the DOH.

    “We challenge our Central Luzon and Calabarzon Centers for Health Development and LGUs to replicate the successes and best practices of our previous SPKP campaigns as the outcome of this SPKP round will determine our next steps in addressing the polio outbreak,” Duque said.

    He also appealed to the public to have their children administered the two drops of monovalent Oral Polio Vaccine Type 2 (mOP3).

    “I continue to urge parents and caregivers to have their children vaccinated against this disease during the said vaccination dates. Let us work together and ensure that no child is left behind unvaccinated,” said Duque.

    The SPKP is a series of polio vaccination rounds provided to children under 5 years old in selected high-risk areas of the country.