Advisory: DOH offers free vaccines for measles and polio for kids ~ Pinoy Media

Friday, September 5, 2014

Advisory: DOH offers free vaccines for measles and polio for kids

President Benigno Aquino III today led the Department of Health’s (DOH) nationwide measles immunization campaign that targets an estimated 11 million children, from newborns to below 5 years old to be immunized against measles and rubella.

The month-long campaign also includes the oral polio vaccine that will be given to an estimated 13 million newborns up to below 5 years old.

“The elimination of measles is part of the country’s commitment to achieve Millennium Development Goal #4 to reduce child mortality and this campaign is one step nearer to reach that goal and we are committed to minimize or totally interrupt the transmission of measles and rubella,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona declared.

The campaign, dubbed “Ligtas sa Tigdas at Polio Mass Immunization Campaign,” aims to reduce and eventually eliminate cases of measles and rubella in the country and sustain the country’s polio-free status it achieved in 2000 after the last recorded case in 1993.

Vaccination will take place in health centers, barangay health stations, local churches, and other designated vaccination posts. A door-to-door checking and vaccination will follow to verify if there were missed/unvaccinated children. Finger-marking through indelible ink of the child will be used to confirm if a child has been vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the DOH National Epidemiology Center reported a total of 44,666 suspect measles cases nationwide from January 1 to July 5, 2014. Of these, 16,214 (36%) were confirmed. Ninety-one (91) of the confirmed measles cases died.

Most of the confirmed cases came from the National Capital Region (13,265 cases or 34%), Region IVA or CaLaBaRZON (8,661 or 28%) and Region III or Central Luzon (5,985 or 16%).

Ages of the measles cases ranged from 1 month to 77 years old. Fifty-three percent (53%) of the cases were male. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of the cases belonged to the 1-4 year age group.

Measles is caused by a virus that is highly contagious and is spread by coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions. Its symptoms include rashes lasting for three days or more, fever above 38 degrees Centigrade, cough, runny nose, sore eyes.  If untreated, measles may result to complications, namely, pneumonia, diarrhea, blindness, and even encephalitis. Measles can be prevented through vaccination.

On the other hand, polio affects mainly children under 5 years old and is a highly infectious disease that invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis. Like measles, polio can be prevented through vaccination.

“I urge all mother and caregivers to bring children regardless of their vaccination status, from newborns to below 5 years old, to the nearest health center to have them vaccinated against measles, rubella, and polio. Magkaisa. Magpabakuna,” the health chief concluded.
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