ILOILO CITY: The Department of Health regional office here is targeting more than 500,000 children 0 to 5 years old to avail of the oral polio vaccine (OPV) catch-up immunization set on February 22 – 26.
The switch from trivalent OPV to bivalent OPV is slated on April 27, 2016 as the nation joins the worldwide catch-up immunization to protect the population from the consequences of importation of wild poliovirus.
Priority provinces in Region 6 are Antique with 50,000 target children; Capiz, 60,000; Iloilo, 173,929; and Negros Occidental with more than 220,000 children.
The provinces of Guimaras and Aklan, Iloilo City and Bacolod City are not considered high risk areas but regular immunization is ongoing, the DOH said.
DOH regional personnel will conduct free vaccination consisting of two drops of OPV to children 0-59 months old regardless of immunization status. It will be done at rural health centers and health stations, house-to-house calls, barangay halls, basketball courts, and day care centers so that children will be vaccinated properly.
The Philippines was declared polio-free in 2000 but is susceptible to the spread of polio from endemic countries namely Pakistan and Afghanistan. In May 2013, the World Health Assembly endorsed the polio eradication endgame strategic plan 2013-2018 and set the global program priorities to eradicate poliovirus.