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Manila intensifies free immunization program


Manila offers free immunization for children / Manila Bulletin file photo

Manila offers free immunization for children / Manila Bulletin file photo

By Cris G. Odronia

The city government of Manila has intensified its free immunization program to protect more children from the common vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, whooping cough, flu, polio and tetanus.

Mayor Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada said he has tasked the Manila Health Department (MHD) to continue with the immunization activities in the barangays.

“I want every infant and child in Manila fully immunized, especially those from poor families, even if I have to use all the resources of the city, just to keep them healthy and strong,” Estrada said.

Dr. Benjamin Yson, chief of the Manila Health Department, encouraged the parents to avail of the free immunization program in barangay health centers.

As of 2016, Yson said, a total of 31,115 children in the city aged one and below have been  “fully immunized” against the seven major diseases – smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, yellow fever, whooping cough, polio, and measles.

“Our marker of success is when an infant completes the basic vaccinations upon reaching the age of one. We’re still trying to get to many more infants and children as we move around the barangays,” Yson said.

The MHD chief said the seven different type of vaccinations usually cost a minimum of P5, 000 in private hospitals and clinics. These are provided for free in the city’s 59 community health centers and six public hospitals, he said.

MHD is also administering Dengvaxia, an anti-dengue vaccine, to schoolchildren aged nine and above since June last year.

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