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3 rounds of polio immunization to target 186,869 kids

The City Government will begin the three rounds of immunization against the poliovirus on Monday, Oct. 14.

The first area identified is Bankerohan, Barangay 5-A.

Personnel of the City Health Office will be implementing the program on the following dates:

• Round zero will be on Oct. 14 to Oct. 22
• Round one will be from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7
• Round two will be start on Jan. 2 up to Jan. 18

Although, there’s no polio case recorded in Davao City. Samples taken from Davao River showed that it’s positive of the poliovirus.

According to City Health Office head, Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, they will work with barangay health workers and other volunteers to reach as many kids as possible.

“We will also be doing the immunization in the health centers, in fixed sites and house-to-house. Volunteers will also handle fixed sites, malls, markets and churches,” Villafuerte said in an Oral Polio Immunization Forum on Tuesday at the Grand Men Seng Hotel.

Brgy captains’ support

Yesterday, the barangay captains in the city attended a polio outbreak orientation at the Sunny Point Hotel in Ma-a.

“We will give our 100 percent support through mobilizing our barangay functionaries and community leaders to help out and participate in the massive vaccination ‘Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio’ to achieve the 100% (target) and eventually declare our barangay as polio-free,” said Tibungco Barangay Captain Merjade Calvo.

“We will commit to support the organizers, call for the public participation, and provide for the other needs of the health personnel and volunteers including food, transportation, logistical needs and security,” Delvo added.

The Philippine Pediatric Society, together with the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, is supporting the program. They also committed to help anyway they can.

Dr. Sally Gatchalian, vice president of the Philippine Pediatric Society, said health personnel and all stakeholders should be very careful this time.

“Polio is a family of enteroviruses so when it gets contacts with other enterviruses, it can also cause mutation, so that is what’s happening in the environment very recently,” she said.

She also called on a more aggressive approach in the conduct of community surveillance to find spot possible cases of polio in Davao City.

“The fact that it is rare, we should be able to identify the cases because there is a possibility that there is a case, but we just don’t identify it. We need to intensify the acute flaccid paralysis surveillance, meaning, all patients who are experiencing weakness or floppiness, or just weakness alone, it needs to be reported,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Davao Doctor’s Hospital, Brokenshire Hospital, San Pedro Hospital, Metro Davao Medical and Research Center, Davao Medical School Foundation, and in the Southern Philippines Medical Center have been identified as satellite sites for polio vaccination.

San Pedro Hospital pediatrician Dr. Perlina Quitain said parents shouldn’t be afraid of bringing their kids for inoculation since polio vaccination is the safest among all the types of vaccinations today.

“If you are going to read the manual operating procedure of the National Immunization Program, polio is the safest of all the vaccines in the manual, all have the side effects except for the polio,” Quitain said.

She also said that according to the World Health Organization Center they have to meet the 95% coverage of the immunization or more rounds will be made until the ideal coverage is reached.

“So we will not be stopping on three rounds, we will be continuing if we will not achieve the 95% and above coverage,” she said.

Dr. Lulu Bravo, executive director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, also urged the public to cooperate.

“Benefits always far outweigh the risk of vaccination and the government gives all of these vaccinations because this is public health, they are always concerned with the people’s interest and people’s welfare in mind. We know there is a risk, but they are able to mitigate that risk,” she said.

Appeal for support

Meanwhile, in her privilege speech on Tuesday, Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, chair of the committee on health, appealed to her colleagues to help make the massive polio vaccination campaign a success.

“May I appeal to each of our of our colleague to support this mass immunization by sending staff to volunteer and if possible assist in logistical needs of the City Health Office,” she said addressing the members of the 19th City Council.

According to Villafuerte, the councilors may assist through the forms of transportation, gasoline and others “in order to meet the goal to immunize 186,869 children.

Villafuerte recently passed an ordinance for the mandatory immunization of infants and children to help the health sector meet their goal of achieving 100% immunization coverage of children below five years old in the city.


By Samantha T. Burgos and Julianne A. Suarez

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