4 solons push for continued immunization program amid COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Four lawmakers filed a resolution Wednesday at the House of Representatives calling for the continued safe implementation of the national government’s immunization program for children during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Reps. Presley De Jesus, Sergio Dagooc, Godofredo Guya, and Adriano Ebcas—filed House Resolution No. 906 which urges the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure the continued safe implementation of the mandated National Immunization Program (NIP) and to ensure that there is a stable supply of available vaccines through biddings.
“The ongoing community quarantine measures put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 have been observed to significantly challenge or completely pause the effective and efficient implementation of the National Immunization Program for children in community centers and other vaccination facilities,” the lawmakers said in the resolution.
According to the four solons, diseases such as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hepatitis-B, measles, mumps, rubella, and pneumococcal diseases “can severely impact” Filipino children aged five years or younger if they are not protected through immunization.
Pneumonia may also be prevented by immunization, however, the procurement of its vaccine has been likewise postponed.
“An open, fair, competitive public procurement of NIP vaccines provide the Filipino the broadest possible options for affordable, quality, and registered vaccines, allowing for potential significant savings to the government while at the same time promoting strong public governance,” the lawmakers said.
Under the health department’s NIP, free routine immunizations are provided to infants and children to protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD).
In response to the pandemic, the DOH has also released a circular detailing the interim guidelines for immunization services during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The DOH has conducted several public awareness activities on the importance of continued immunization in children during the pandemic period in order to contain current VPD outbreaks and prevent future communist VPD outbreaks which will further aggravate the health crisis the country is experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the lawmakers said.
These activities, the lawmakers said, have encouraged local government unis to maintain NIP implementation in their areas and the parents to seek vaccination for their infants and young children.
Thus, the health department, the lawmakers said, should be further encouraged and supported “in its endeavor to contain the current and prevent future community outbreaks of VPDs during the pandemic.”
“Be it finally resolved, to encourage the DOH to continue to secure the stable supply and availability of quart vaccines through continues conduct of open, fair, competitive public procurement of NIP vaccines, including those that may have been previously postponed for procurement,” the lawmakers said.
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