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Friday, 21 February 2020 14:03

Sarangani extends immunization vs poliovirus

ALABEL, Sarangani (February 21, 2020) – Sarangani has extended its vaccination drive against the poliovirus starting February 17 to comply with the Department of Health’s (DOH) directive for regions in Mindanao to conduct additional two rounds.

In Sarangani, schedules are set from February 17 to March 1 and March 23 to April 4.

According to the DOH the extension was primarily scheduled in response to positive polio cases reported in Mindanao.

However, in Sarangani, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Arvin Alejandro confirmed zero human case on polio.

For the first and second rounds of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP), Sarangani obtained 99.71% and 102.67%, respectively, exceeding DOH’s 95% coverage requirement for every SPKP round.

These marks, according to Dr. Alejandro, denote that “we are properly protecting the community against any outbreak sa lahat ng mga vaccine preventable diseases.”

The high turn-out of immunizations in Sarangani, according Alejandro, was the result of the convergence of stakeholders especially the health workers who penetrated far-flung areas where they “were able to provide more than 95% immunization coverage among the children five years old and below” despite security issues in some areas.

The poliovirus case monitored in Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat in December 2019, Alejandro said, had prompted a conference for Southeast Asian Health Experts where the recommendation to come up with rounds 3 and 4 was decided.

According to the National Immunization Program coordinator in Sarangani, Razel Bustria, anti-polio vaccines currently administered are bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (bOPV) which protects poliovirus types 1 and 3.

This is different from the mOPV or monovalent oral poliovirus vaccine administered in rounds 1 and 2 because of the immunodeficiency-related vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 found in the environmental survey in Lambayong.

Dr. Alejandro said Sarangani is safe from the specific strain of poliovirus and cited the more than 95% immunization coverage obtained by the province in its first two rounds indicated that “chances of having an outbreak is very, very minimal.”

As of February 20, Bustria reported 47,298 children under five years old were immunized or 66.79% against the 70,816 provincial target.

She said Sarangani ranked behind other provinces in the region as of the fifth day of immunization, with Cotabato City (72.52%) in the lead, followed by General Santos City (73.45%), North Cotabato (72.75%), South Cotabato (69.21%), Sultan Kudarat (79.81%), and Sarangani (66.79).

However, Bustria said Sarangani is “just on track” based on DOH’s calendar to obtain at least 85% for the first week of the immunization. (Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)

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