Outbreak of polio prompts Philippines to launch vaccination drive

Outbreak of polio prompts Philippines to launch vaccination drive


Outbreak of polio prompts Philippines to launch vaccination drive

The Philippines is also trying to tackle outbreaks of dengue and measles that have killed more than 1,000 people since January, most of them children

"The polio vaccinations happen all year round, but our coverage dropped for the past five years," Rolando Enrique Domingo, an undersecretary of the department of health, said.

There is no cure for the virus, which invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours, but it can be prevented with vaccines. The virus spreads rapidly among children, especially in unsanitary conditions in underdeveloped or war-torn regions where healthcare access is limited.

The Philippines has faced a challenge recently in convincing parents to vaccinate children after it scrapped a dengue immunisation programme using Sanofi's Dengvaxia in late 2017, following its linkage to child deaths.

The Philippines's latest polio case was confirmed on Monday in Lanao del Sur, one of the country's poorest provinces.

A vaccine campaign started in August in the historic heart of Manila will be expanded to cover more than five-million children and go nationwide in 2020, health secretary Francisco Duque said in a speech on Friday.

Read more: Business Day

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21 September 2019, Saturday News

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