By Ma. Teresa Montemayor
MANILA — Vaccination acceptance rate among parents remains high despite Department of Health’s school-based immunization program being non-mandatory, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
“Makikita naman po sa schools na pinupuntahan natin, marami ang pumipila, mataas po ang acceptance rate ng mga nanay ngayon na pabakunahan ang kanilang mga anak para kontra tigdas (It is evident in the schools we visit, many students line up, the acceptance rate of mothers is high for measles vaccination),” DOH-National Capital Region (NCR) Director Corazon Flores told Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Flores reported DOH’s school-based immunization program has so far accomplished 12 percent of its national target with 6 percent only in the NCR.
“Medyo mababa pa po kasi nagsisimula pa lang po kami ulit dahil nagsimula pa lang din po ang klase sa mga eskwelahan (The percentage is quite low since school has just started). We are promoting this until December and we’ll vaccinate those from Kinder to Grade 7 for measles, and the coordinators are also prioritizing the deworming of the children before the vaccination,” she said.
While Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is looking into mandatory vaccination in schools, Flores said the DOH and the Department of Education have agreed to “screen the students and ask for their parent’s consent for the vaccination”.
“Gusto rin kasi malaman ng mga magulang kung ano ang ibinibigay sa mga anak nila, at mayroon din namang mga bata na kumpleto na sa measles vaccine kaya hindi na natin sila isinasama sa programa (The parents also want to know what would be administered to their children since there are some who have already completed the measles vaccine so they will be excluded from the program),” she added.
On Tuesday, Duque, in an immunization drive at the Apolonia Rafael Elementary School in Valenzuela City, said his proposal for mandatory immunization in schools is “still under discussion with lawmakers and stakeholders”.
“I think we can push for that but like most other pieces of legislation, this has to undergo broad and deep consultations,” he said.
On the other hand, Flores said the community-based immunization program has reached 101 percent of its goal at the national level.
“That is 3.7 million at the national level in February, children six to 59 months old. Then, in the NCR alone, we’ve reached 113 percent and that’s about 184,000 children vaccinated already,” she said.
“At ang (And the) vaccines are not only for measles, but we also have vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria, polio, tuberculosis, and human papillomavirus,” she added.
Flores said the DOH’s school-based immunization program started on July 3.
“We have gone to number schools in Valenzuela and Taguig and by next week we’ll visit Manila City with Mayor Isko Moreno and Pasig City with Mayor Vico Sotto,” she said. (PNA)