Philippine Red Cross eyes vaccination of 100K children against infectious diseases

Published February 3, 2021, 7:32 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

At least 100,000 children will be vaccinated against infectious diseases as the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) starts its nationwide measles-rubella and polio supplemental immunization activity (SIA) this month.

Senator Richard Gordon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“The need to vaccinate children is crucial for us to halt the ongoing polio outbreak and prevent an impending measles outbreak,” said PRC Chairman and Senator Richard Gordon. “Let us protect our children as early as now,” he added.

The PRC has rolled out its SIA activity starting Feb. 1 as part of its continued support to the second phase of “Chikiting Ligtas,” the vaccination program of the Department of Health (DOH) for 2021.

“In this phase, children will be given additional vaccine doses aside from their routine immunization,” PRC said. The humanitarian organization is targeting 100,000 children to vaccinated or 50,000 each for polio and measles-rubella.

PRC said that the Philippine government aims to vaccinate a total of 9,472,468 children with the measles-rubella vaccine, and 6,919,015 children with the bivalent oral polio vaccine.

To meet these figures, PRC said that it “will be pursuing vaccination the whole month of February.” PRC will mobilize 2,000 volunteers with 75 staff from 35 PRC chapters. The volunteers and staff will be grouped into 300 teams which aim to reach 500,000 households in 500 communities.

PRC said that from October 2019 to December 2020, it was able to vaccinate 960,429 children against polio and 83,799 children against measles-rubella. “Overall, 1,044,228 have been vaccinated through our efforts,” it added.

Gordon underscored the importance of coordination between the two institutions. He added that it is “vital as it speeds up the supplemental immunization for the children, especially with the challenges posed by the on-going pandemic.” 

Meanwhile, Gordon acknowledged PRC’s staff and volunteers who braved the risks in order to help protect communities against polio, measles, and rubella.

“PRC’s greatest assets will always be its dedicated volunteers and staff,” Gordon said. “Their service has been instrumental for this supplemental immunization activity and as Chairman, I am very thankful and proud that many volunteers are fulfilling the Red Cross humanitarian mandate whenever, wherever,” he ended.