ILOILO CITY – The Department of Health-Center for Health Development 6 (DOH-CHD 6) is intensifying its routine vaccination drive and calling on parents to have their babies avail of the program before they reach the age of 12 months.
“We do not want children dying from diseases that can be prevented by immunization. Our vaccination program is really free from the government. We have been providing this for the last 30 years,” Dr. Mary Jane R. Juanico, Medical Officer at the DOH-CHD 6, said in an interview on Monday.
The appeal for parents to have their children immunized will be complemented by the conduct of monthly defaulter tracking to address immunization gaps among children under five years old.
Juanico said that upon birth, children are supposed to have been administered with BCG (bacilli Calmete-Guerin) vaccine for tuberculosis and Hepatitis B.
At one-and-a-half months, two-and-a-half months and three-and-a-half months, they should have Pentavalent vaccine for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, influenza B and Hepatitis B as well as oral polio vaccine (OPV).
At the same age, infants should also be vaccinated with PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) for pneumonia and meningitis.
“Meningitis and pneumonia still are the most common causes of mortality among children less than five years old," Juanico said.
The measles containing vaccine 1 (MCV1) should be administered to all nine-month-old children, and the MCV2 to those who are 12 months old.
“These vaccines are available in health centers. By that time, they are 12 months old they should have two doses for measles alone. For those that missed for some reasons, they should go back (to their health centers) to achieve at least two doses that will provide their children at least 90 to 95 percent protection against measles,” Juanico said.
She also urged parents to remain vigilant about the signs and symptoms of measles even if the outbreak has been put under control.
Meanwhile, DOH enjoins everyone to support the observance of the World Immunization Week on April 24-30 to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases.
“The Immunization Program is not just the work of DOH. We really have to strengthen our collaboration with DOH because this is really part of the responsibilities of local government units and line agencies,” Juanico said. (PNA)