SouthCot health workers gear up for measles, rubella vaccination

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 Oct) – Health workers in South Cotabato province are gearing up for the upcoming month-long vaccination campaign for measles and rubella, which is targeted to cover 149,000 children in the area.

Genesis Navales, national immunization program coordinator of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said they have finalized the necessary preparations for the scheduled supplemental immunization activity, which is set from Oct. 26 to Nov. 25.

She said they identified fixed vaccination posts in strategic communities in all 199 barangays to ensure the full coverage of children aged nine to 59-months-old within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

Navales said they are targeting 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 said in a briefing.

Navales said it is important for the province to increase its immunization accomplishment to prevent possible outbreaks, especially in the remote areas.

She warned that measles and rubella are “highly fatal” diseases but 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 a one-year-old infant – due to the disease were recorded in the area in the first and second quarters of the year or a case fatality rate of 2.3 percent.

Based on the guidelines set by the Department of Health (DOH), 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 (COVID-19).

Navales said there will 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.

But she said they scheduled visits by the vaccination teams to remote areas like Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu to directly deliver the vaccines to the communities.

Navales assured that the DOH has provided enough measles and rubella vaccines for the activity and they have allotted supplies for children who were not included in their target.

“Rest assured that the vaccines are generally safe and proven effective to provide immunity to our communities,” she added. (MindaNews)