DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Health officials eye a 95 percent turn out in its school-based immunization program this year after a massive information drive on measles and against the Dengvaxia scare.
Dr. Janis Olavides, the local division chief of Department of Health Region 11 (DOH 11) said health officials this year will give vaccines from kindergarten to Grade 7 students. This is the result of the massive campaign of the agency to convince parents to let their children have full immunization for better health resistance.
“This year, we will have the extension in giving the vaccine to kindergarten and to our Grade 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 students as a result of our campaign last March,” she said.
The City Health Office (CHO) will now conduct and monitor the immunization program of public school students as a health requirement recommended by the Department of Health for children.
Grade 1 students will be given the measles-rubella and tetanus-diphtheria vaccines through injections. The CHO said parents are required to provide the immunization card of their children as a basis of the dosage needed.
Girls in Grade 4, within ages 9-13 years old, will have the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine twice a year in order to combat cervical cancer.
Grade 7 students will also have the measles-rubella and tetanus-diphtheria injections. Kindergarten students, as well as those in grades 2 to 6, will also have the measles-rubella vaccine.
Olavides explained that the immunization of school children can only be done if the children have their parents’ consent.
“In the event that our school children do not have their parents’ consent, their names will be listed so that our barangay health workers can follow up on them and avail of the community-based immunization program,” said Olavides.
Eldy B. Sombilon, the National Immunization Program (NIP) Coordinator for Davao City, said parents were afraid to get their children vaccinated because of the Dengvaxia scare.
In 2016, he said they only accomplished 40 percent of their total target for school-based immunization.
“Back then they were so afraid to let their children get vaccinated, but we keep explaining to them that our program is safe,” Sombilon said.
The DOH targets 701,000 school children for immunization in the Davao region. 250,000 of these children will be in Davao City. (davaotoday.com)