More than 1,000 volunteers and staff of the Philippine Red Cross will assist the Department of Health in the continuation of the Sabayang Polak Kontra Polio vaccine drive in Mindanao, Philippines.
According to the PRC, 1,000 volunteers and 60 staff members will comprise 200 vaccination teams to be distributed in different parts of Mindanao from today until February 2, 2020.
The team includes team leader, vaccinator, recorder, and health educator.
They will carry out vaccinations in the provinces of CARAGA, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, SOCCSKSARGEN and BARMM.
DOH and Red Cross targeted to vaccinate over 60,000 children.
Red Cross assembles 200 teams for Philippines polio vaccine drive
The Department of Health declared a polio outbreak in the country after it traced a case of the disease in Lanao del Sur on September 19, 2019.
The Philippines has been polio-free for 19 years until DOH confirmed on September 14 that a 3-year-old girl had the disease and “now apparently well but with residual paralysis.”
As of this writing, there are already 16 confirmed cases of polio in the country.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III warned the public that the Philippines is at “high risk for poliovirus transmission” as oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage decreased in the past years.
“In 2018, the vaccine coverage for the third dose of OPV was 66 percent. This figure is below the 95 percent target required to ensure that the whole population is protected against polio,” Duque said.
The drop in polio immunization was traced back to the Dengvaxia vaccine scare in 2017. The government approved the school-based dengue vaccination in 2015. As of today, there are 145 deaths (142 children and three adults) allegedly caused by Dengvaxia.