Why do pupils and teachers get vaccinated?

13 Aug 2015
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MALUNGON, Sarangani (August 13, 2015) - Around 21,000 school children and teachers throughout Sarangani are being immunized this month against Measles Rubella, Tetanus-diptheria and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

With the P100 million the Department of Health (DOH) has allocated for the school-based immunization program, millions of school children belonging to the top 20 poorest provinces in the country would obtain the booster vaccines for free. Sarangani belongs to this group.

However, the provincial government augmented a P1-million budget to cover the first 100 female teachers belonging to the 22 to 30 years old age bracket for their HPV vaccine as one component in the prevention of cervical cancer.

Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon explained this as a Sulong Kalusugan scheme of the provincial government to have health safety precaution for kids and teachers.

Solon appreciated the intervention that DOH rolled out in public schools that gives immunity of these children “to diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and tetanus that have been noted to be cause of deaths among children.”

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Arvin Alejandro, however, reported no cases of outbreaks in Sarangani on the mentioned diseases.

He said HPV was the second leading cause of deaths among the general population in the Philippines.

Dr. Alejandro said studies showed HPV was the primary cause of cervical cancer for females aged 14 to 44 years old. He pointed out that this group belongs to the sexually active population.

“The moment you are sexually active then the risk of having Human Papillomavirus is also high,” he said. Immunization would be a preventive action to protect this group from the virus.

The combined measles rubella and tetanus-diptheria vaccination cover Grade 1 to Grade 7 while Grade 4 pupils with ages 9 to 13 will be given HPV as an integral immunization strategy. This would eliminate measles and tetanus and control mumps, rubella and diphtheria alongside the prevention of cervical cancer.

Several years from now, these children will reach their productivity stage “hence they should be vaccinated with HPV. Dapat healthy sila all throughout,” Dr. Alejandro said.

The National School-Based Adolescent Immunization covers school children and adolescents during the whole month of August.

In Sarangani, the program kicked-off with a ceremonial provincial launching on August 3 in Barangay Malandag where a number of children and teachers got vaccinated.

Some 4,100 Grade 1 pupils, 10,000 Grade 7 pupils and 10,000 Grade 4 pupils in Sarangani are the target beneficiaries of the immunization program. This intervention, Dr. Alejandro said, is steered towards the provincial government’s goal of “achieving 95% coverage among target school children for a better health outcome.” (Beverly Paoyon / SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

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