The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) was able to vaccinate close to 59,000 Filipino children against polio even amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Richard Gordon said Friday.
Gordon said the PRC resumed its immunization program following the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) warning that the pandemic may trigger an outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio.
The senator said the polio vaccination was conducted three days into the resumption of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio program conducted in partnership with the Department of Health (DoH).
“There should be no let-up in the regular vaccination program or those covered under the DoH’s Expanded Immunization Program amid the on-going pandemic,” Gordon said.
“We would not want to be dealing with outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases while we are still fighting in this World War C,” said the PRC chairman and chief executive officer.
The senator said the PRC, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has accomplished 73 percent of its target, or 58,655 out of 80,000 children to be vaccinated for the fourth round of the vaccination program.
According to the PRC Health Services, some 17,994 children in Mindanao were vaccinated on July 20; 21,335 on July 21; and 19,326 on July 22.
The fourth phase of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio program will run from July 20 to Aug. 2.
“For this round, we have mobilized 608 volunteers and 43 staff and reached 160 communities in 36 cities and municipalities in Mindanao. Our chapters in Mindanao, 17 of them, participated in this endeavor,” Gordon said.
“And I commend our chapters, volunteers and staff who put their fears aside to go house to house and be able to vaccinate these children,” he said.