The Department of Health (DOH) has asked the local government units (LGUs) to prioritize the conduct of the Measles-Rubella Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization Activity (MR-OPV SIA) amid the ongoing threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We just want to make sure that when we start rolling out our vaccines against COVID-19, ay hindi tayo magkakaroon ng sabay na measles and polio outbreaks (we will not have measles and polio outbreaks),” said DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday night, Feb. 24.
“Our request to the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) is to encourage regional directors and local chief executives to prioritize MR-OPV SIA in their respective localities for the remaining days of February,” he added.
The immunization activity was launched last Feb. 1 covering regions both in Luzon and Visayas. It will run until Sunday, Feb. 28.
The DOH said a total of 3,721,186 children were already vaccinated against measles and rubella; while 3,483,423 were vaccinated against polio, as of Sunday, Feb. 21.
The Health department said the target number of children left to be vaccinated remained above 1.3 million for measles and rubella vaccine, and 1.2 million for oral polio vaccine.
“We call on our local government units who have better access to their constituents, to pitch in and assure our mothers and that our health centers are safe places where they can get their children vaccinated,” said Duque in a separate statement.
“As long as we are able to comply with our minimum public health standards, as well as protocols of health centers, we can be protected from COVID-19,” he added.
Likewise, Duque urged all parents to have their children vaccinated.
“We can decrease the prevalence of cases of measles, rubella, and polio through vaccination. These vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective for over 40 years and parents need not have second thoughts,” the DOH chief said.
“Above all, we can prevent unnecessary deaths that are caused by these illnesses. This is why we have tirelessly been urging our mothers to have their children vaccinated,” he added.