Parents who continue to refuse to endorse their children for immunization can be held liable for neglect.
“Not being able to give their proper children the right health services, technically, it will be (considered) neglect,” Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, committee on health chairperson, said.
Villafuerte has been pushing for a mandatory immunization ordinance, and part of its provision will be requiring immunization during school enrollment.
“In the mandatory immunization, I will really push immunization as a requirement during enrollment. I am appealing to the support of DepEd so that we can be on high coverage during our immunization drive,” she said.
She also said they will deploy health personnel in each school to man the clinics. The information drive, which includes a house-to-house campaign, will continue to encourage parents into bringing their children to the local clinic.
“We will make sure that they will be vaccinated. We will make them go to the clinic and start the immunization process,” she said.
“The challenge is the power of our health professionals to convince and explain why it saves lives. That is why we are preventing our children from getting sick, dying, and getting paralyzed,” she said.
“We just want children to be free from illnesses. Many had died because of constant diarrhea, infected measles, and the like because these children lack the proper vaccines,” she added.
She conceded that some parents are still suspicious of vaccines owing to the Dengvaxia scare. However, they are working closely with private physicians, pediatricians, and hospitals to reach out to “gated communities,” to surrender their children for vaccination.
In the same manner, they will also reach out to Lumad communities so they will also be covered. The program will undergo a constant evaluation to determine the response.
“We will process it first and see how parents respond to the program,” she said.
“We cannot penalize those who are still resistant, but I would really do my best to convince these parents to really immunize their children for their protection as these vaccines are free of charge,” she said.
She also said that through mandatory immunization, the second round of the polio immunization drive will gain a high coverage.
“We can see that parents are slowly trusting back the vaccinations, based on the 99.48% of the first round of our immunization drive. We hope to gain the same coverage or, better, exceed,” she said.