immunization program in the Philippines

DOLE to employers: Excuse workers getting kids vaccinated vs measles, polio

Michelle Abad

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DOLE to employers: Excuse workers getting kids vaccinated vs measles, polio

JAB. A public health worker administers a vaccine shot to a boy while her mother watches during the start of a massive measles and polio vaccination campaign in Iligan on Tuesday, May 2.

Merlyn Manos / Rappler

Upon returning to work, parents must present proof of vaccination

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is encouraging private sector employers to excuse their workers who need to accompany their children to get vaccinated against measles-rubella and polio.

In Labor Advisory No. 4, series of 2024 signed on March 27 but disseminated to the media on Saturday, April 13, the DOLE issued guidelines for employers in letting their employees participate in the government’s nationwide measles-rubella and bivalent-oral polio vaccine immunization activity from April 1 to 15.

Other local health units have different dates for the same immunization program, with some starting on April 15, and ending in the coming months.

The guidelines apply to all private sector employers, particularly those with employees who have children aged 6 to 59 months old.

“Employers are highly encouraged to allow their employees to be excused from work when they accompany their children on scheduled vaccination, or when they must take care of their children who will experience adverse effects or reactions to the vaccine on the day after the vaccination,” the DOLE said.

When the employees return to work, they must present proof of vaccination. The must also be allowed to use available leave credits during the vaccination activity, subject to company policy or collective bargaining agreement.

Encouraged to promote

Apart from simply excusing their workers to get their kids vaccinated, the DOLE also advised employers to help promote the immunization programs.

The advisory contained a link to informational and promotional materials on what measles and polio are, and why immunization is important. The labor department advised employers to coordinate with local health units to ensure that qualified employees’ children can get vaccinated.

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The department also encouraged employers with institutionalized immunization programs to conduct the measles-rubella and bivalent-oral polio vaccinations in the establishments. Employers may put up temporary vaccination posts, and use occupational health personnel as part of the vaccination team as needed.

In March, the health ministry of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao declared a measles outbreak.

The Department of Health has meanwhile encouraged parents to get their children vaccinated against pertussis or whooping cough, as cases climb and more local governments are declaring outbreaks. –

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.