Some 2.4 million Filipino children are prone to measles, pushing the Department of Health (DOH), the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to lead a supplemental immunization drive.
The program will be launched from October 26 to November 25 in Mindanao, Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, Bicol and the Cordilleras; in February, the Visayas region, Metro Manila, Central Luzon and CALABARZON.
The joint effort aims to vaccinate 9.4 million children for measles and rubella and 6.9 million for polio.
Health secretary Francisco Duque III stressed the need to hamper measles transmission amid the Covid19 pandemic. Experts noted that the current health crisis contributed to children missing out on routine immunization.
Measles, a highly transmissible disease, can result in severe diarrhea, dehydration, pneumonia, ear and eye complications, encephalitis, swelling of the brain and even permanent disability. Just last month, there were 3,500 cases—with most in individuals under 5 years old—with 36 deaths.