(Photo courtesy of Department of Health)

MANILA – A total of 88,405 infants who are 0 to 23 months old have been vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) in April, a health official said Monday.

The infants from 36 areas nationwide got vaccinated last April 28 to 29, during the Chikiting Bakunation Days, an annual vaccination drive that aims to reach at least one million children who have missed out and are yet to receive any routine vaccine on World Immunization Week.

"Nakapagturok po tayo ng first, second and third doses ng penta vaccine gayundin po ng PCV [pneumococcal conjugate vaccine] at OPV [oral polio vaccine] habang ang first dose and second dose naman ng IPV [inactivated poliovirus vaccine] at saka ng ating measles vaccine (We have vaccinated first, second and third doses of penta vaccine and PCV and OPV as well as first dose and second dose of IPV and measles vaccine)," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media forum.

Vergeire said vaccination is for the protection of the infants and prevention of potential VPD outbreaks.

More than half of the vaccine-eligible children born during the Covid-19 pandemic – around 1.4 million children – have not had a single vaccine.

However, even before the pandemic, the Philippines was among the top 10 countries in the world that constitute a great number of under vaccinated or unvaccinated children.

With the Chikiting Bakunation Days, which will run every last week of the months of April to June 2022, vaccines against polio, measles, hepatitis B, pneumonia, and other vaccine preventable diseases will be administered nationwide.

On April 28, the Department of Health said some 2.2 million infants and toddlers are up for routine and catch-up immunization against VPDs.

Of the total number, about 1.1 million are infants up to 12 months old and 560,393 are toddlers ages 1 year old to 2 years old who missed their inoculation schedules last year.

The remaining 577,201 are newborns and infants ages one month to 12 months who are eligible for vaccination this year.

The upcoming Chikiting Bakunation Days are scheduled on May 26 to 27 and June 30 to July 1. (PNA)