By Andrea Aro
Eleven percent of mothers in Metro Manila continue to refuse to have their children immunized against polio, according to Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire Tuesday.
“Mothers who refuse to participate in immunization campaign against polio last month comes from the “poor sector of the society,” Vergeire said.
In an interview on ANC, Vergerie noted: “It has been reported that ever since 2016, a lot of mothers were already refusing vaccination. We don’t know why, we have asked some, of course, there would be this controversy, others would be not believing these vaccines.”
“The mothers were saying they don’t need it. The mothers were saying the child already had the vaccination before. These kinds of reasons have been given to us when we went to the city of Manila,” she added.
Vergerie stressed that children up to five years old must be administered the vaccine.
“We are going to provide immunization irrespective of their immunization status. It has no side effects, no bad taste for this oral polio vaccine. It is safe and has been used ever since the 1970s,” she said.
The immunization coverage of the Department of Health (DOH) has gone really low, according to Vergerie: “We’re just averaging 60 to 66 percent for the last five years and looking at our data now, for 2019, you’d find out that we are still less than 50 percent of our coverage, when, in fact, the target for us to have that ideal environment or us to have healthy children will be 95 percent.”
DOH announced the resurgence of polio after 19 years of being declared polio-free due to plummeting immunization coverage.