(SEPTEMBER 20, 2019) – The Department of Health has requested lawmakers for an additional P800 million fund for polio vaccines, as it confirmed the second case of the disease in the country after almost two decades.
The vaccines will immunize at least 5.5 million children aged five years and below against the polio virus, health officials said on Friday.
“This is something that we have to take up in Congress at nasa budget hearing pa naman kami. I will discuss it again with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano para mabigyan ng pansin ito,” Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy vowed said.
The DOH said it will intensify its vaccination campaign to encourage more parents to have their children injected amid the persisting vaccination scare brought by the Dengvaxia program.
“Ang nagsabi niyan ay yung London School of Hygiene on Tropical Medicines na tumaas ang vaccine hesitancy to an all-time record high of 32 percent,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
Parents had sued several government officials for approving and distributing Dengvaxia vaccines which they said killed their children.
The health chief believes the vaccination scare may be among the reasons why a 3-year-old girl in Lanao Del Sur acquired polio as its first victim in the country after the World Health Organization declared the Philippines free of the disease in 2000.
Duque said the DOH has confirmed that the patient it has been monitoring in Laguna has teeted positive for the polio virus..
“Scare ng Dengvaxia, misinformation, parents having no time to bring their children to health centers and poor environmental sanitation and hygiene ang maaring factors kaya nag-umpisa ulit ‘yung polio dito,” Duque said.
To prevent polio from spreading, doctors advise parents to keep their children’s hands clean.
“Ang virus is quite easily neutralized at the temperature of 31 degree Celsius and higher. Kailagan mag-painit ng tubig at maghugas ng kamay nang maigi hanggang mga 20 seconds,” Duque said. (Kathryn Jose/JMF)