DOH 7 to vaccinate children amid Covid-19 crisis

AMID the enhanced community quarantine, the immunization program in the barangays in Central Visayas should continue to roll out but health workers must observe safety precautions to avoid being infected with coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

This was according to Dr. Jaime Bernadas, director of the Department of Health (DOH) 7.

Bernadas said he already told all municipal health workers to push through with the agency’s immunization program.

Under Republic Act 10152 (Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act of 2011), the “mandatory basic immunization shall be given for free at any government hospital or health center to infants and children up to five years of age.”

The law covers vaccine-preventable diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella or German measles, Hepatitis-B and H. Influenza type B (HIB), and other types as may be determined by the health secretary in a department circular.

Bernadas said the immunization must continue, saying the DOH could not afford to see children getting sick with vaccine-preventable diseases.

Unicef’s concerns

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) in an article, “Life-saving vaccinations must not fall victim to Covid-19 pandemic-Unicef chief,” published on March 26, 2020, stated that as the pandemic progresses, critical life-saving services, including immunization, would likely be disrupted, especially in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, where they are “sorely needed.”

It expressed its concerns on several countries, including the Philippines, that are fighting Covid-19 and other diseases at the same time.

“Unicef is particularly concerned about countries battling measles, cholera or polio outbreaks while simultaneously responding to Covid-19 cases. Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, the Philippines, Syria and South Sudan fall into that category,” read a portion of the Unicef article. (WBS)