THE Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, January 17, disclosed that the three-year-old boy afflicted with the poliovirus in Quezon City has been found to have an impaired immune system.
In an interview, DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said they have received a report that the first patient from Metro Manila is immunocompromised, which makes him vulnerable to diseases despite getting a complete dose of oral polio vaccines (OPV).
"The child is immunocompromised. He has several illnesses. Probably, this is why he was easily afflicted with the virus. He was not able to mount the adequate immune response during the vaccination," said Domingo.
"The child is not healthy completely. If one is immunocompromised and the resistance is low, even if you get a vaccine, your body has no capability to mount an immune response versus the disease," he added.
This, despite the child having received complete OPV doses since 2016.
"The child is fully vaccinated in their health centers, and even from our outbreak response immunization versus polio," said Domingo.
The health official said this is where herd immunity becomes crucial as the community can help ensure that immunocompromised children are also protected from the virus.
"This is the reason why everyone must be vaccinated. Because there are immunocompromised children, who cannot mount immunity on their own. But if there is herd immunity, the circulating virus in the environment can be eliminated, then the immunocompromised children will be protected also," said Domingo.
Last Thursday, the DOH reported that the total number of polio cases in the country has gone up to 16 since the outbreak was declared in September 2019. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)