PHL to resume polio, measles immunization despite COVID-19 pandemic


The government will soon resume its polio and measles immunization program for children despite the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ Resolution No. 70 said that the Department of Health (DoH) can conduct its measles-rubella and oral polio vaccine supplemental immunization activities regardless of the community quarantine status in the place where these activities shall be held.

Local government units are directed to support the drive.

The DoH said last month that because of the strict lockdowns first imposed last March to control the COVID-19 pandemic, the immunization drive for polio and measles had been delayed. However, its Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) campaign resumed last July in selected regions.

The Philippines had been considered polio-free for two decades before two cases were reported last year in Laguna province and Lanao Del Sur. The current tally for polio cases is now at 25.

Polio is a disease caused by the poliovirus and affects a person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis or death. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the rubeola virus whose complications include pneumonia and encephalitis. — Gillian M. Cortez

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