Health workers in South Cotabato province are gearing up for the upcoming month-long vaccination campaign for measles and rubella, which seeks to cover around 149,000 children in the area.
Genesis Navales, the national immunization program coordinator of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said Wednesday they already finalized the necessary preparations for the scheduled supplemental immunization activity, set from Oct. 26 to Nov. 25.
Navales said they aim to immunize at least 95 percent of the eligible children to facilitate herd immunity for measles and rubella in local communities.
“Our immunization rate last year was only about 86 to 87 percent, and that’s quite low, so we need to catch up,” she told reporters.
Navales said it was important for the province to increase its immunization accomplishment to prevent possible outbreaks, especially in remote areas.
She warned that measles and rubella are “highly fatal” diseases, although preventable through proper vaccination and achievement of herd immunity in the communities.
From Jan. 1 to Oct. 10, the IPHO already recorded a total of 86 measles and rubella cases in the province, with 51 involving adults.
Two deaths — an adult and one-year-old infant — due to the disease were recorded in the area in the first and second quarters of the year, translating to a case fatality rate of 2.3 percent.
Based on the guidelines set by the Department of Health, the vaccination activities will be conducted by health workers in fixed posts like health centers, hospitals, clinics, and local health offices.
The target clients will be assigned with specific schedules to prevent overcrowding in identified sites in the wake of the continuing threats posed by the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Navales said there would be no house-to-house visits during the activity due to the limited number of health workers and since the vaccines can only last for six hours.
“Rest assured that the vaccines are generally safe and proven effective to provide immunity to our communities,” he added. (PNA)