USAID, PH gov’t launch 2nd phase of measles, polio, rubella vaccination

Published January 29, 2021, 3:48 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), on Friday led the launching of Phase 2 of the Measles-Rubella and Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization Activity (MR OVP SIA) that aims to inoculate nearly 10 million Filipino children throughout the country.

In partnership with the Philippine government and other development partners, the national campaign on the measles, polio, and rubella immunization program was launched at the General Trias City Medicare Hospital in Cavite in the presence of USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, Cavite Rep. Luis Ferrer IV, and General Trias Mayor Antonio Ferrer.

The US government is providing more than Php24 million ($500,000) to support the Philippine government’s efforts to immunize against these deadly and highly contagious diseases.  

Through a partnership with UNICEF, USAID assistance includes technical expertise, logistics support, and community engagement for the vaccination campaign.

Phase 2 is a follow-up to the Philippine government’s Phase 1 immunization campaign last year. It will include the entire Visayas, Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon regions.

The measles-polio campaign will vaccinate 4.8 million children under age 5 against polio and immunize 5.1 million children between 9 and 59 months old against measles and rubella.     

In his remarks, USAID Mission Director Hardy called on the participation of all sectors, including the parents and guardians to have their children vaccinated against these life-threatening diseases.

“Our efforts to protect Filipino children from these diseases will enable them to attend school, participate in community activities, and contribute fully to society,” Hardy said. 

Duque, meanwhile, said the vaccines can give vulnerable children a good start at life so they can grow into healthy and productive adults.  “Above all, no child should be left behind.”

Over the past 20 years, the U.S. government has invested nearly Php30 billion in the Philippine health sector to help advance the country’s development goals.