Manila gov’t vows to intensify anti-polio campaign

Published October 1, 2019, 1:27 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Erma Edera

The local government of Manila will remain persistent in intensifying its anti-polio campaign in the city even if some parents reportedly refused to have their children vaccinated despite an outbreak.

A baby gets an oral anti-polio vaccine during the launch of a campaign to end the resurgence of polio after health authorities confirmed a polio case in the country Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 at suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. Philippine health officials declared a polio outbreak in the country on Thursday, nearly two decades after the World Health Organization declared it to be free of the highly contagious and potentially deadly disease. (AP Photo / Bullit Marquez / MANILA BULLETIN)
A baby gets an oral anti-polio vaccine during the launch of a campaign to end the resurgence of polio on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo / Bullit Marquez / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Manila Health Department (MHD) chief Dr. Arnold Pangan, only 55 percent of the nation’s capital children have been vaccinated, and have availed of the local government’s polio immunization program.

Pangan said his agency will ask for help not only from national government officials but also from popular celebrities to help inform parents of the benefits of vaccination.

“To intensify our information drive, we will seek the assistance of key government officials as well as celebrities to help us encourage parents to have their children vaccinated,” the MHD chief said.

“In addition, the house-to-house campaign waged by our MHD personnel will remain persistent,” he added.

The MHD chief made the remark after a Department of Health (DOH) official disclosed in a television interview that “about 11-percent” of mothers refused to have their children vaccinated.

READ MORE: Many mothers in MM refuse to have their children vaccinated against polio – DOH official

DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that “the mothers were saying that they don’t need it.”

“It has been reported ever since 2016 that a lot of mothers are already refusing vaccination. We don’t know why, we have asked some, of course, there would be this controversy, others would be not believing these vaccines,” she said in a television interview.

The Manila City government, in partnership with the DOH, launched a mass polio immunization program on August 19 to intensify efforts to prevent the disease.

The Philippines has been declared polio-free since 2000 but was put at “high-risk” due to low vaccination. An outbreak was declared on September 19, 2019, after two cases of polio were reported.