MANILA – More than 8 million children have received vaccines for measles and rubella a week before the Department of Health’s campaign against vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) ends.
The DOH, in a Viber message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), said 8,016,954 or 82.61 percent of the target have received the vaccines for measles and rubella as of June 8.
At least 2,307,564 children (80.5 percent) received bivalent oral polio vaccines while a total of 3,884,629 children have received vitamin A supplementation.
The MRV is given to children aged 9 months to 5 years old while the OPV is given to children from zero months to 5 years old.
The MRV-OPV supplemental immunization activity or Chikiting Ligtas was expected to end last May 31 but the DOH extended it until June 15 to reach more children who missed their routine immunization during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
From 87 percent coverage in 2014, the country’s childhood immunization rates went down to 68 percent in 2019.
This resulted in about 50,000 measles cases that year, of which 637 have died.
The Philippines ranks second for the highest number of children with zero doses in East Asia and the Pacific Region and fourth in the world between 2019 and 2021 according to UNICEF.
The DOH, through the campaign, aims to protect 95 percent of target children against VPDs which are highly contagious and could lead to premature death. (PNA)