GenSan on track in immunization campaign vs polio

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 Nov) – The City Health Office (CHO) here is on track to meet its target in the ongoing Mindanao-wide massive immunization campaign against polio, an official said on Thursday.

Dr. Rochelle Oco, CHO chief, said their vaccination teams already covered a total of 45,394 infants and children in the first three days of the “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” set from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7.

She said such figure is about 61 percent of the identified 75,545 eligible children aged five years and below within the city’s 26 barangays.

From Monday to Wednesday, she said their average daily accomplishment reached about 20 percent and they expect such trend to continue in the coming days.

“The response that we’re getting has been good and this is a significant impact of our continuing advocacy campaign on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in combatting polio,” she told reporters.

Oco said they are hoping to cover “95 percent and beyond” of the targeted eligible children for the ongoing campaign to achieve “herd immunity” in local communities against the poliovirus.

She assured that they have adequate vaccination teams and supplies of the monovalent oral polio vaccine-type 2.

To ensure wider coverage, she said they dispatched teams to conduct house-to-house visits and established fixed vaccination sites in various public areas, including shopping malls, parks, hospitals, lying-in clinics, public terminals and even in checkpoints.

Oco said the barangay councils have assigned community guides who are familiar with the households that have eligible children.

Once the vaccination teams complete their rounds in a community, she said these are immediately validated by the rapid coverage assessment (RCA) teams composed of representatives from the Department of Health, World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

“The RCA teams also carry vaccines in case there are children who were missed by the vaccinators. So that’s two rounds of sweeping our communities,” she said.

Oco said the vaccination teams still faced problems with some parents who were reluctant and even refused to have their children vaccinated for various reasons.

Some invoked their religious practices while others claimed that their children were already vaccinated through their private pediatrician, she said.

“But our teams are very patient and taking extra efforts to make our residents understand the importance of this campaign,” she said.

Meantime, in South Cotabato, the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) reported a total coverage of 59,256 coverage or 51.63 percent of the targeted 114,774 children in the first three days of the immunization campaign.

Koronadal City and Tantangan town posted the highest accomplishment rating at 61 percent, followed by Polomolok at 58 percent and Tupi at 56 percent.

Barangay Assumption in Koronadal was first among the province’s 199 barangays that achieved 100 percent coverage, with 169 vaccinated children. (MindaNews)