DOH intensifies polio vaccination in Zamboanga Sur

PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur (PIA) — The Department of Health (DOH) has intensified its polio vaccination campaign in the province as it seeks public support in raising awareness about infectious diseases.

National Immunization Program coordinator Jayson Ryan H. Nahial said that some areas in the province have high risks of polio outbreaks due to the low immunization during the pandemic. Children born during the pandemic have had no or incomplete polio immunization.

With this, DOH rolled out a measles-rubella and bivalent oral polio vaccine supplemental immunization activity (MR-bOPV SIA) from May to June 2023. However, priority is given to the municipalities of Dinas and Molave, which were identified as high-risk areas.

According to reports from the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), the region had 85 percent bOPV coverage last year.

In 2024, the DOH implemented the second roll-out of the bOPV campaign to increase the coverage of the immunization routine. This campaign aims to avoid the possibility of polio outbreaks and to secure children’s health within the community.

The DOH is targeting to immunize over 58,000 children by administering oral polio vaccine. This will be implemented in the 26 municipalities in the province, prioritizing those areas that were not covered in last year’s immunization rollout.

A kid is given an oral polio vaccine during the kickoff ceremony in Josefina. (Photo courtesy of Josefina RHU)

Dahlia Aseniero, health and education promotion officer of the IPHO, encouraged the public to support this activity to avoid a possible outbreak and to safeguard these children from this disease that can affect children’s entire lives.

“The efforts to eradicate this polio disease are a testament to the collaborative efforts of stakeholders and parents,” she said.

Polio is an infectious, potentially deadly disease and is very dangerous for children ages 5 andbelow. While it is not curable, it is preventable through vaccination.

The DOH has launched this campaign to ensure that all children under the age of 5 receive full immunization. This initiative seeks to safeguard children and communities from the threat of circulating poliovirus, thereby preventing the devastating consequences associated with polio disease.

This campaign started on April 1 and will run until July 31, 2024. (KSA/RVC/HTB/KGP-GIP/PIA9-Zamboanga del Sur)

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