Malacañang expressed alarm over the reemergence of polio in the Philippines stressing that there should be greater effort to convince parents to have their children vaccinated.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said because polio is highly-contagious among children, the government must act fast to “stop and reverse” the viral disease.
“Nakakabahala na (It’s alarming that) after 19 years, nagkaroon tayo ng (we have) findings of the presence of polio here,” Nograles said in an interview on Friday.
“Kailangang bilisan natin yung actions natin to (We need to act fast to) stop this and to reverse it,” he added.
Nograles pointed out that although immunization is free, the Department of Health (DOH) has taken action to boost its immunization campaign and address the 68 percent decline of polio vaccine coverage.
“Alam naman natin na libre naman yung bakuna na binibigay ng Department of Health (We know that the vaccines from the DOH is free), it’s just a matter of convincing the parents, their families, the children na magpabakuna (to have their children vaccinated)),” he added.
“Kung ano man ‘yun (Whatever the cause of the decline may be), the Department of Health has its hand full in pushing and promoting again yung immunization against polio and all other sicknesses,” he said.
The Palace official said President Rodrigo Duterte himself is willing to help promote the polio immunization campaign.
“As far as support from the administration, whether budgetary or support in terms of media or sa panawagan (announcements) from the President, the President made a declaration before that he is open to, even himself, campaigning to the people na magpabakuna (to have their children vaccinated), na (and) to avail of the immunization program of the Department of Health,” Nograles said.
He said the reemergence of polio will be discussed in the Cabinet meeting next month.
On Friday, the DOH confirmed that a five-year-old boy from Laguna is the latest and second confirmed polio case in the country.
The first case was a three-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III has encouraged parents of children below five years old, health workers, and local chief executives to take part in the synchronized polio vaccination to be scheduled in their communities. (PNA)