Philippines’ Vaccine-Derived Polio Cases Continue, Door-To-Door Vaccine Campaign Set For October
Health officials in the Philippines have declared a polio outbreak emergency. The World Health Organization categorized the country as polio-free around 20 years ago. But now the country’s top health officials claim that polio has made a return after a 3-year-old girl was diagnosed. Additionally, officials claim that sewage testing has revealed instances of polio virus.
PhillipinesHealth Secretary Francisco Duque III told a news conference that the findings warrant a polio outbreak warning to all citizens.
Both the WHO and United Nations Children’s Fund are equally worried over what they are calling a polio reemergence. They are pushing the Philippine’s government to administer a new vaccination campaign.
“As long as one single child remains infected, children across the country and even beyond are at risk of contracting polio,” UNICEF Philippines representative Oyun Dendevnorov said.
UNICEF and the WHO says that this latest polio outbreak is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2. In other words, the initially less potent polio virus that’s injected into the child is passed through the intestines and back into the sanitation system where it sometimes strengthens into a more powerful version. Duque intends to push a massive vaccine campaign across the nation for all children under the age of 5.
For Philippines health officials, pushing a vaccine campaign is complicated due to the failed 2017 dengue fever vaccine which killed three children. The public lost trust in the country’s health officials, making it challenging to push for new vaccine campaigns.
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But now health officials say they need at least 95% of all children under 5 to be vaccinated for polio to eliminate a further outbreak risk. Currently, those numbers fall below 70%. There is no word on how the country intends to overcome the public’s vaccine distrust. As it stands, the government is “begging” the public to accept the polio vaccine as “very safe.” Additionally, door-to-door vaccine campaigns are set to begin as early as October. All children will receive the vaccine no matter what their prior vaccine status was.
“Vaccinators will go around to look for those who have not yet been given the OPV. At the same time, they will also administer the monovalent vaccine,” DOH Public Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said.
“The polio vaccine is very safe. We have nothing to worry about because the polio vaccine has been used for a long time, and it has gone through tests that prove its safety, efficacy, and affordability,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque II stated on Friday.
Although the sewage systems are serving as a conduit for polio infections, the Davao City Water District (DCWD) claims that the drinking water has not been compromised.
As it stands, there are no fears of a polio pandemic, only of an epidemic. But parental rights activists are likely to take notice worldwide due to the door-to-door vaccine campaigns as well as the fact that the illness is derived from the vaccines. Health officials say that anti-vaccination, or under-vaccination, remains the main cause because they say that the weakened virus can’t thrive in a child with a previous polio vaccine.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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