The Department of Health (DOH) has reminded mothers and caregivers of children five years old and below they can still bring their child to the nearest health center for the “patak polio” immunization.

“During the first round of the Synchronized Polio Vaccination we conducted in the City of Manila last August 19-31 this year, we were able to give the ‘patak polio’ to only 54 percent of our target. This is unacceptable, this is far below the required 95 percent,” DOH assistant secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire of the Public Health Services Team said in a press statement.

To evaluate the implementation of this activity and determine reasons for the dismal coverage, the DOH went back to the barangays and conducted a Rapid Coverage Assessment. Results from the assessment identified several factors why some eligible children were unvaccinated during the vaccination activity.

The rapid assessment showed that most of the parents or caregivers (41%) with unvaccinated children reasoned that they, or the child, were not around during the vaccination schedule.Other factors stated by parents and caregivers are unawareness of the vaccination activity; they were not around during the schedule and caregivers could not make the decision; their children were sick; and that they already had their children vaccinated by a private doctor. Some parents and caregivers also stated their lack of trust in barangay health workers and lack of trust in the vaccine.

“There is no cure for polio. It can only be prevented with three doses of the polio vaccine that are safe and effective,” Assistant Secretary Vergeire emphasized, adding that the DOH is strongly urging mothers and caregivers to bring their child five years old and below to the nearest health center for immunization.

“Vaccination is the best way to protect your child against vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and tuberculosis, among others,” Vergeire .

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