ANTI-POLIO IMMUNIZATION DRIVE. Round 1, Phase 2 of the synchronized polio immunization campaign dubbed as “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio, will be conducted in the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales on Aug. 3-16, 2020. The campaign aims to strengthen polio prevention in the country. (Photo by DOH-CLCHD)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The next phase of the synchronized polio immunization campaign in Central Luzon will kick off on Monday as part of the continuous drive against this debilitating disease.

Dubbed as “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio,” Round 1, Phase 2 of the campaign will be conducted until August 16 in the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

In coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOH-CLCHD) conducted the Round 1, Phase 1 of the synchronized polio immunization in Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Angeles City in Pampanga, and City of San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan from July 20 to August 2.

DOH Regional Director Cessar Cassion appealed for the participation of the parents/caregivers, health workers, barangay officials, and local government units for the implementation of a quality campaign to successfully end the polio outbreak.

“Polio vaccines are the only way to protect your child from the paralyzing and deadly disease and to end the outbreak. The polio drops will be given in a safe manner to also protect you, your child, and health workers and volunteers from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19),” Cassion said in a statement.

Theresa Marie Bondoc, health education and promotion officer of the DOH-CLCHD, likewise cited the importance of having children immunized.

“Sa lahat ng mga magulang at tagapag-alaga (To all parents and caregivers), the best gift you can ever give to your children is having them immunized. In doing so, you are ensuring their safety, protection, and good health; therefore, giving them a healthier and brighter future,” Bondoc said.

Bulacan health officials likewise called for the support and cooperation of all for the success of the anti-polio campaign, saying it is the best way to prevent the disease and its transmission.

“Ang Kagawaran ng Kalusugan, Philippine Medical Association (PMA)-Central Luzon at pamahalaang lalawigan ng Bulacan ay nagkakaisa sa pagsuporta sa Sabayang Patak, Kontra Polio. Pabakunahan ang batang wala pang limang taon gulang pababa, kahit sila ay nabakunahan na noon (The Department of Health, Philippine Medical Association-Central Luzon and the Bulacan provincial government are united in supporting Sabayang Patak, Kontra Polio. Let the children under the age of five be vaccinated, even if they have been vaccinated before),” Dr. Jocelyn Esguerra Gomez, chief of the Provincial Health Office-Public Health and governor of the PMA-Central Luzon, said.

“Spare the children from polio. Get a drop. Let’s do Sabayang Patak, Kontra Polio,” Dr. Joseller Vergara, pediatrician of the Bulacan Medical Center, said.

The campaign aims to boost immunization against polio by giving doses of monovalent oral polio vaccine type 2 (mOPV2) to all children under five years of age, (0-59 months old), regardless of their immunization status.

To ensure interruption of poliovirus transmission, at least two successive rounds of Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio will be done, each with an aim of at least 95-percent coverage to ensure no child is left behind.

The DOH officials said the mOPV2 vaccine is prequalified by the WHO, safe and with no concerns for overdosage.

The first positive case of polio in Central Luzon that was reported last Feb. 15 brought the total number of cases in the country to 17 since an outbreak was declared in September 2019. (PNA)