TACLOBAN CITY – With a week left before the end of the measles-rubella mass vaccination drive, about 130,886 preschool children in Eastern Visayas have yet to receive the vaccine, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Thursday.
Elena Villarosa, DOH 8 (Eastern Visayas) national immunization program manager, said the vaccination campaign from May 1 to 23 has immunized at least 279,615 children, representing 67 percent of the 417,478 target population who are five years old and below.
“We are happy with the turnout with the support of local government officials, national government agencies, private sector, parents, and guardians. We are upbeat that by the end of May, at least 80 percent of the target population will be covered,” Villarosa told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.
These are the top five areas with the highest number of unvaccinated children with 49,334 of them in Leyte province, followed by Northern Samar with 21,717; Samar with 17,803; Southern Leyte with 12,313; and Tacloban City with 11,453.
“We are doing intensive vaccination even up to house-to-house and extend the vaccination hours due to extreme heat. There is also vaccination during weekends for the convenience of working parents,” she said.
The campaign also provides oral polio vaccines among children in cities and capital towns in Eastern Visayas.
As of May 23, about 180,446 children received anti-polio vaccines, attaining 37 percent of the target.
Villarosa reiterated that there is no treatment for polio, rubella, and measles, with vaccination as the only effective way to prevent the possibility of an outbreak.
Measles, one of the most contagious diseases worldwide, is characterized by high-grade fever, rashes, cough, sore eyes, and runny nose with complications that could lead to pneumonia, blindness, severe diarrhea, swelling of the brain, and even death.
Polio, on the other hand, is a potentially debilitating disease that causes fever, neck stiffness, and muscle weakness, and can eventually result in lifelong paralysis. (PNA)