The Philippines Department of Health (DOH), with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is resuming its Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign to combat the poliovirus outbreak in the Philippines. The polio immunization campaign was shortly put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The next phase of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign in the whole of Mindanao will start on 20 July and last until 2 August 2020 for children under 5 years old. Children under 10 years old in selected areas in Mindanao will also receive polio drops.
Meanwhile, new polio immunization campaigns for children under 5 years old will begin in a phased approach in Region 3 (Central Luzon) on 20 July and in the provinces of Laguna, Cavite and Rizal in Region 4A in August.
“Continuous implementation of polio response amid the present health crisis we are facing is important as this will prevent not only the debilitating effects of the disease, but also interrupt the transmission during a pandemic,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.
“Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease and we cannot let our gains over the years go to waste by deprioritizing our polio response. It is imperative for parents and caregivers to have their children vaccinated, while strictly adhering to infection prevention and control protocols, as we cannot afford to overwhelm our health system with another outbreak,” Duque emphasized.
The total number of polio cases in the country remains at 16 as of 26 June 2020. The Philippines is affected by both cVDPV1 and cVDPV2. cVDPV is considered a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Currently, there are 13 cases of cVDPV2, one case with cVDPV1; one case with VDPV1; and one case with immunodeficiency related VDPV type 2 (iVDPV2).
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