THE Philippine Red Cross’ Kontra Polio Teams vaccinated more than seven thousand children during Monday’s kick off for the first round of the Department of Health’s Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign in Mindanao and the second round in the National Capital Region.
Senator Richard J. Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO said that in support of the DOH campaign, at least 550 PRC volunteers, armed with service kits and vaccines, braved the heat of the sun as they conducted door-to-door vaccination for children aged 0 to 5 years old.
“It is through the power of [our] pool of volunteers that the Red Cross can help our partners in fighting polio in the ‘Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio,’” he said.
Gordon said at least 7,281 children were inoculated in Manila, Pasay, Quezon City, Marikina, Caloocan, Navotas, Valenzuela, Taguig, Muntinlupa and Las Pinas in Metro Manila and in Davao City, Davao del Sur and Lanao del Sur in Mindanao during the first day of the campaign.
He added the door-to-door campaign not only intends to vaccinate children but aims to educate parents on the importance of vaccines as well in a bid to end polio that once again emerged, after almost two decades of the country being polio-free.
Each vaccination team deployed to the barangays is composed of four volunteers – a team leader, a health educator, a recorder, and a vaccinator. The team leader secures the list of the children to be vaccinated and leads the team to the households. The health educator explains what the vaccination is for and gives advice on good health and hygiene practices – as a dirty environment encourages the spread of polio. The recorder gets the details of the child and the family, and also secures the consent for the vaccination. The vaccinator administers the vaccine.
This strategy not only ensures that vulnerable children are vaccinated and properly recorded but also provides an avenue to explain the vaccines to parents and guardians. The DOH recorded a 95% decline in polio vaccination among children below five years old last year.
The PRC targets to vaccinate 39,000 children during the campaign which will be concluded with the last round of vaccination on Jan. 6 next year.
Polio is a highly contagious disease transmitted through the fecal-oral route. It is caused by the poliovirus and may result in life-long paralysis and even death. But it is vaccine-preventable.
The Synchronized Polio Vaccination campaign aims to boost immunization coverage against polio by giving three doses of the oral polio vaccine to all children five years old and below, regardless of their immunization status. Full vaccination against the poliovirus is the best way to prevent the transmission of the disease.