DOH extends anti-polio vaccination campaign

Michelle Abad
DOH extends anti-polio vaccination campaign
The Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign will have additional rounds in Metro Manila and Mindanao until April 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) announced on Monday, January 6, it will extend its ongoing anti-polio vaccination campaign in Mindanao and Metro Manila until April 2020.

The Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) campaign, originally scheduled from November to December 2019, now has additional rounds to accommodate more children.

For Metro Manila, two additional rounds are set:

  • January 27 to February 7
  • March 9 to March 20

For Mindanao, a limited response round will be conducted in the following areas from January 6 to 12:

  • Basilan
  • Sulu
  • Tawi-Tawi
  • Zamboanga City
  • Isabela City
  • Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat

An additional two rounds for all regions in Mindanao are set for the following dates:

  • February 17 to March 1
  • March 23 to April 4

“We need the participation of everybody to successfully end this outbreak – other government agencies, the local government units, partners, our local health workers and bakunators,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a statement.

The DOH said vaccination rounds in 2019 were “successfully conducted.” The additional rounds were scheduled to address reported positive polio cases from the Acute Flaccid Paralysis Surveillance in Mindanao, and positive environmental samples in Metro Manila.

The DOH aims to achieve at least 95% coverage in all identified areas for every SPKP round.

In Metro Manila, 96% or around 1.1 million out of 1.2 million kids aged 5 and below were vaccinated, while in Mindanao, 93.6% or around 650,000 out of 700,000 kids received the oral polio vaccine.

“We need to provide evidence that the transmission of poliovirus is already contained before we can end the SPKP campaign. Therefore, the fight against polio is far from over. For us to effectively and successfully stop the transmission of this disease, we need to sustain our synchronized efforts. We must continue to ensure that no child is left unvaccinated,” said Duque.

A polio outbreak was declared in September 2019 after a case surfaced in Mindanao following the Philippines’ 19-year polio-free status. (READ: EXPLAINER: What is polio?)

There have been 8 confirmed cases of polio in small children since the outbreak began. Of the 8, 7 were found in Mindanao while one was in Laguna. – Rappler.com

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer with the investigative unit of Rappler. She also covers overseas Filipinos and the rights of women and children.