Senator Nancy Binay called on local government units to continue offering immunization services against measles and polio even as the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Huwag naman sanang maging dahilan ang lockdown sa di pagkakaroon ng panahon para mailigtas ang mas maraming kabataan mula tigdas at polio. Aside from our fight against COVID-19, we should also continue our fight against vaccine-preventable diseases,” Binay pointed out.
The senator cautioned that children in some regions and still covid-free areas may miss out life-saving vaccines just because the government is centrally focused on fighting the covid pandemic.
“Mahirap ang sitwasyon sa ngayon. Kailangan muna nating isantabi ang ibang public health concerns dahil meron kang hinaharap na giyera sa Covid. We understand the demands of the times, and we know that the DOH and local health workers are further thinned by the day, but we cannot allow the vulnerable population be victims of an immunization standstill. May panahon pa,” Binay noted.
The senator said that while disruptions in immunization services are likely to occur, LGUs can study the guidelines released by the World Health Organization on how to protect critical immunization services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, polio and measles cases in the country were already on the rise.
“Nakakabahala na ang bilang ng mga kaso ng tigdas at polio. We can still continue to provide immunization services even during lockdown. Many lives at are stake. Children have a higher risk to being exposed to bacteria and virus. Eto yung panahon na pwede nating ibalik ang tiwala ng mga magulang sa pagbabakuna. We can bring back the public’s confidence in order for health officials increase vaccination coverage. Kung di tayo gagalaw, pwedeng maging full-blown epidemic itong tigdas at iba pang communicable diseases,” Binay said.
The suspension of vaccination for the disease due to the current pandemic is fueling fears among experts polio cases could rise. The UNICEF said about 2 million Filipino children may miss out vaccinations due to the current lockdown.
According to the Department of Health’s Measles and Rubella Surveillance Report, from 1 January to 22 November 2019, there have been 43,214 measles cases reported, with 570 deaths. In the whole year of 2018, there were 21,812 measles cases reported with 202 deaths.
World Immunization Week is celebrated in the last week of April (24 to 30 April) and aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease./Stacy Ang