Kids to receive measles, polio, rubella shots

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MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III will lead on Monday the launch of a nationwide immunization campaign which seeks to prevent the outbreak of measles, rubella and polio among Filipino children.

The Department of Health (DOH) is allotting the entire month of September to give roughly 11 million children aged 9 months to 5 years extra protection against measles and rubella.

On the other hand, an estimated 13 million children up to 5 years old will be given the oral polio vaccine.

Health officials urged parents across the country to bring their children to health centers for the immunization.

The new campaign is a follow-up of the 2011 immunization drive to interrupt the transmission of highly infectious diseases in the country as indicated by the measles outbreak that started last year.

The DOH said the most effective campaign against measles was in 2004 with vaccination coverage reaching 95 percent. From 2005 to 2009, the incidence of measles was only between 0.1 and 16 per million population.

But in 2011, the incidence climbed to 68.8 per million population with vaccination coverage at 84 percent.

The oral polio vaccine was added to the campaign in view of the risk of the spread of the polio virus in the country through importation from polio endemic countries.

The mass immunization will be conducted from Sept. 1 to 30, with all health centers serving as vaccination posts.

The DOH said that all children regardless of previous immunization status, either by vaccination or active natural immunity (previously infected with measles), should be given the measles-rubella vaccine.  Tina G. Santos

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