BAGUIO CITY – Health authorities urged the public, especially the parents of those aged 5 and below, to allow their children to get the required oral polio vaccine and injectable polio vaccine readily available in the different health facilities regionwide to prevent them from contracting the life-threatening disease.
Dr. Mary Crist Jamora, medical officer of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center’s Department of Paediatrics, said that polio is deadly but preventable once children and adults are provided with the required oral polio vaccination and injectable polio vaccination.
She claimed the last reported case of wild polio in the region was way back in 1993 and the present resurgence of the viral infection is traced to poor sanitation and the existence of open sewerage systems that directly discharged to bodies of water.
The medical officer disclosed children aged 6, 10 and 14 months should be provided with 3 doses of oral polio vaccination and a simultaneous injectable polio vaccination on the 14th month and that the same must be followed by another dose of injectable polio vaccine between 12 to 15 months while the last dosage of injectable polio vaccine should be given between 4 to 6 years old.
However, she revealed the vaccines during the early age of the children availing of the vaccination are available for free in the different health centers while the injectable vaccines that will be provided between 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 years old could be availed in the private clinics of medical practitioners.
Jamora advised adults could also avail of the anti-polio vaccination but those who are qualified to do so are those who are considered to be high-risk individuals like those working in laboratories handling specimens of feces contaminated with the polio virus among others.
Polio is a contagious viral illness that in its most severe form causes nerve injury leading to paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes death.
In 2000, the Philippines was declared polio free but after 19 years, the dreaded viral infection resurfaced and was detected from a 3-year old girl in Lanao and a 5-year old boy in Calamba, Laguna.
The BGHMC physician said the health department is conducting massive information and education campaign to convince people who have children aged 5 years old and below to allow their to be provided with the required anti-polio vaccination to ensure that they will be able to combat the viral infection once it attacks the bodies of the youngsters.
She added there are available polio vaccines in the different health centers around the country thus there is no reason for people not to avail of the vaccination.
Health personnel regionwide are closely monitoring the possible emergence of polio in the different places to prevent the same and ensure the safety of the children from the dreaded viral infection.
By Dexter A. See