GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 1 Aug) – The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 is targeting to cover over 700,000 school children in the entire region for the school-based immunization program this year.
Dr. Aristides Tan, DOH-12 director, said the immunization activities are currently ongoing in various public schools in the region in partnership with the Department of Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government and local government units.
He said the vaccination teams, which are spearheaded by personnel of rural health units, started the coordination with local schools as early as the first week of July and the actual immunization by the third week.
Region 12 is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
The agency led the formal launching of the annual activity on Tuesday at the Fatima Central Elementary School in Barangay Fatima here.
The theme of this year’s school-based immunization, which will run until September, is “Back to BackUNA: Una sa Lahat, Bakuna.”
Under the program, he said learners from kindergarten to Grade 7 will receive vaccines for measles-rubella while those in Grades 1 and 7 will get booster shots of Tetanus-Diphtheria.
He said female learners in Grade 4 will be given shots for Human Papillomavirus or HPV or the anti-cervical cancer vaccine.
Tan said they aim to vaccinate around 525,000 learners for measles-rubella, 170,163 for Tetanus-Diphtheria and 10,815 for HPV.
The official said the school-based immunization is the best way to provide essential booster doses to school children.
“It is important for all our children to be vaccinated and become well-protected against various vaccine-preventable diseases,” he said in a briefing.
Tan clarified that only learners with consent from their parents or guardians will be given with the vaccines.
He said they are currently conducting massive information and education campaigns in local communities regarding the immunization program.
During the school-based immunization activities, he said health personnel will conduct lectures regarding the importance and safety of the activity, especially the vaccines.
“These are proven vaccines and we have been giving them since time immemorial,” Tan added. (MindaNews)