(Photo from Gabay Pangkalusugan ng Puerto Princesa City's FB page)

The City Health Office (CHO) continues its mission to fully vaccinate children in Puerto Princesa by holding a two-day training recently for 105 community health workers.

Held from April 29 to 30, the health workers were taught on how to combat misinformation about vaccines and explain them to parents and guardians.

Dr. Ralph Flores from the CHO noted that while the Bakuna Champions Training was done annually, this was the first time their office managed to reach out to more barangays.

“Last year kasi nagkaroon kami ng ganitong training for pilot barangays, 10 barangays. Ngayon ito ay ang remaining 56 na barangays. We are planning to expand din not only to the community health volunteer workers, but also to the general volunteers, kahit di health workers ay kasama natin para magdala ng information sa ating mga kababayan,” Flores said.

The CHO’s goal was to fully vaccinate 95% of the children population in Puerto Princesa from common children’s diseases such as tuberculosis, diphteria, tetanus, hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and even pertussis.

The CHO managed to fully vaccinate 59% of these children during last year’s Bakuna Champions training drive.

Flores remarked that the main reason for the slowed progress in vaccination were the parents and guardians, who hesitated to bring their children back for another visit to the health center, or to take a follow-up vaccine shot.

“Ang gusto nating mangyari na sila ay inequip natin for information on vaccines, as well as yung mga communication techniques. For example, yung isang bata, usually ang isang side effect ng vaccine ay lalagnatin yung bata, so nagde-default yung mother na ‘di na dadalhin si baby sa health center kasi ang akala niya masama o hindi maganda ang effect nung lagnat, when in fact normal siya,” he said.

In order for a child to be considered fully vaccinated, they need to return for at least five visits to the health center where they will be given the 5 + 1 vaccine shots. They could also be sporadically vaccinated over their childhood for common children’s diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and even pertussis.

The DOH in Mimaropa noted in a press conference on April that while there was no official outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases in Palawan as of April, they were keeping an eye on the few cases in Palawan.

Dr. Mathew Medrano, medical officer IV for DOH Mimaropa, said that it was the lack of vaccination drives during the pandemic that caused these cases to resurface.

“Sa ngayon ang nakikita natin na tumataas na kaso bukod sa pertussis ay ang measles. Nakikita natin na sa Mindanao ngayon ay nagkakaroon sila ng outbreak ng measles, may response team sila dahil sa pagtaas ng kaso sa kanila ng tigdas,” he added.

Medrano encouraged local health units to continue vaccination and information drives, especially for rising cases of pertussis, measles, and polio. Furthermore, he added that the DOH will be rolling out booster shoots on May-July this year to combat the spread of polio.