QUEZON CITY, July 10 (PIA) - The Department of Health through the National Immunization Program (NIP) and the Health Promotion and Communication Service (HPCS) will resume the implementation of polio mass vaccination or the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) campaign in areas of Mindanao, Region 3 and Region 4-A starting July 20, 2020.
"After reevaluation of the status of the COVID-19 situation and vaccine-preventable disease risk assessment particularly for polio, it is recommended to resume the planned polio outbreak immunization response," said Dr. Wilda Silva, Program Manager of NIP in a virtual Partners' Meeting held today.
DOH-NIP said they highly recommended the resumption of the vaccination as further delay will increase the risk of outbreaks.
The Philippines is identified as high risk for polio recirculation with around 59% of the provinces and cities in the entire country under the high risk category and only 9% under the low risk category, according to the Poliovirus Re-Infection Risk Assessment Result in 2018.
Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease of the central nervous system caused by the poliovirus. In its initial stages it can present non-specific symptoms, Dr. Silva said.
"Non specific symptoms na mayroong lagnat, may pananakit ng katawan, pananakit ng likod but ultimately this virus can destroy the nerve and can lead to paralysis, causing loss of function of one leg or both legs or arms and this may also result the paralysis of your respiratory muscles thereby nagkakaroon ng hirap sa paghinga and this is usually the cause of death," Dr. Silva further explained.
"Once the paralysis sets in, it is irreversible at panghabangbuhay na po ang kapansanan na mararamdaman or mararanasan ng ating pasyente na may polio," said Dr. Silva.
Polio can be prevented through immunization, and is given to children five years old and below.
"As an immunization advocate seeing a child crippled because of polio is like a slap on my face, because it is very easy to administer, to drops of oral polio vaccine that can save this child from a lifelong disability," she said.
For the resumption of the SPKP Campaign, DOH-NIP recommended house to house or door to door vaccination, saying that is still safer than doing fixed or modified post, in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, local government units can also recommend strategy for the polio vaccination that is most feasible for them to utilize, Dr. Silva added.
"Community quarantine will work to our advantage because children are not allowed to go out, they are at home we can do house to house with all the necessary precautions," Dr. Silva added.
Mindanao, Region 3 and Region 4-A are identified targets for the SPKP campaign due to the polio outbreak cases recorded in those provinces.
Schedule of Phased Vaccination for mOPV2 in Mindanao:
July 20- August 2
Whole of Mindanao
Schedule of Phased Vaccination for mOPV2 in Central Luzon:
July 20-August 2
Provinces of Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Angeles City, Pampanga and San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan
Provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales
Schedule of Phased Vaccination for mOPV2 in CALABARZON:
Province of Laguna
Provinces of Cavite and Rizal
Provinces of Laguna, Cavite and Rizal
Dir. IV Beverly Lorraine Ho of the DOH-HPCS asked the support of all its partner agencies for the implementation of the last round of SPKP recognizing the difficulties of not working in a regular health care system and with the background of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Philippines will be the 1st country to resume polio mass vaccination after the declaration of COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, DOH-NIP suspended the polio outbreak response immunization which was originally scheduled to be completed in March 2020.(JLB/ PIA-IDPD)