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DOH targets to immunize 250,000 students this year

Having fever for two days, a two-year-old boy seriously watches while a City Health Office personnel is taking blood sample for dengue virus test in Barangay Alfonso Angliongto Sr, Buhangin District on Thursday. The CHO conducted anti-dengue operation in the barangay after recording six dengue cases last month.

Parents are now open to have their children vaccinated following the Dengvaxia scare last year.

With this, the Department of Health in the region said they will scale up its school-based immunization to target 250,000 students this year.

Last year, only 80,000 students received shots against measles and other diseases.

“From the feedback of the LGUs (local government units) that conducted orientation, there are already many parents who regained their trust in vaccines. During the recent measles outbreak, more parents availed their children to vaccination,” Dr. Janis Olavides, DOH XI national immunization program manager, said during i-Speak media forum on Thursday.

Olavides said they are expecting more participation from the parents for the conduct of school-based immunization in all public schools in the city that will be launched at Sta. Ana Central Elementary School this August.

Under the school-based immunization program, students from kindergarten and grades 2 to 6 will be vaccinated with measles–rubella only, grades 1 and 7 will receive vaccination on measles, rebulla, tetanus-diphtheria (MRTD), and human papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine to grade 4 female students.

From the first semester of 2019, DOH XI has already recorded 1,069 cases of measles all over the region and it has found out that 65% of this has no history of vaccination. Meanwhile, compared to the same period last year, Olavides said the cases significantly dropped to 13%.

The government has allocated P5 million for the National Immunization Program of the DOH in Davao Region this year, a budget limited only for the logistics and operational expense and as they have yet to determine how much will be allocated for the vaccines since it will be procured from the central office.

The DOH has blamed the Dengvaxia scare for the uptick in the number of children diagnosed with measles last year. For instance, it decelerated its vaccination program to 40% from the average of 70% because parents were refusing to immunize their children.

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