The Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Thursday that the government’s drive for anti-polio will have a reset with vaccines coming from the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Duque said vaccines for Type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus has arrived last Monday, which came from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. 

According to him, the DOH will give these vaccines via door-to-door supplemental vaccination against polio. The immunization will run from October 14 through 27 in Metro Manila, Marawi City, Laguna, Lanao del Sur, Davao City, and Davao del Sur. 

The DOH targets children below five years old, regardless of their previous vaccination. 

“We will vaccinate all eligible children because the administrative costs of asking or looking for the health records (of those already vaccinated) are impracticable,” Duque said.

He admitted that it will be time-consuming to redo the immunization but he guarantees that there will be no overdose. The department will still immunize kids, even those who already had anti-polio shots. 

The need of anti-polio drive restart 

The DOH had conducted the door-to-door vaccination campaign last August in Manila. 

Despite the provision for the Type 2 vaccine-derived polio virus (VDPV), two kids from Lanao del Sur and Laguna still had the Type 2 VDPV. 

The development caused Duque to request for the monovalent vaccine to control the spread of polio in the Philippines. 

“In 2016, we shifted from trivalent vaccines to bivalent vaccines or for Types 1 and 3 poliovirus. Type 2 has been excluded… In trivalent vaccines, you cover all of the three types of polio,” he added.

On 19 September 2019, an outbreak of polio was declared in the Philippines. Find out the answers to the most frequently asked questions on the polio outbreak:

Posted by World Health Organization Philippines on Sunday, September 22, 2019

Duque said the WHO should have identified that the polio vaccination coverage in the country is already high before excluding the Type 2 vaccines. 

He also mentioned the need to “re-nationalize” the health care system in the country as to conform to the Universal Health Care (UHC) law.

Officials need to review the Local Government Code and its provisions specifically the appointing of the government of health services to the local government units (LGUs), said Duque.

He cited the handling of the LGUs of vaccination programs for diseases like measles, polio, and diphtheria.

“Sometimes, if health is not (the) priority of (LGUs), programs and services are compromised. If they don’t put enough money, then we have problems.”


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