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PH coverage for vaccine-preventable illnesses is less than 60%

The ongoing pandemic is the main reason why the country’s coverage for vaccine-preventable illnesses (VPDs) among youngsters is less than 60%.

Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, head of the infectious and tropical disease section at Philippine General Hospital’s Department of Pediatrics, stated at the Kapihan media conference on Friday that the Philippines is one of the nations with the lowest percentage of children who have gotten or finished their routine immunizations.

The most prevalent VPDs, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), include polio, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B), chickenpox, meningococcal, mumps, pertussis, and pneumococcal illnesses.

All around the world, these illnesses are the most frequent reasons for hospital stays and child fatalities.

Ong-Lim stated that the nation aims to immunize 90% of the youngsters against these diseases to attain herd immunity.

Only 57 percent of people received all three doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine, only 39 percent received the vaccine at birth, and only 47% received the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis.

“Those who completed polio and 5-in-1 vaccines have not reached 60 percent.”

The Philippines is one of the nations whose children in 2020 will not have received any DPT vaccinations, which protect against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus.

According to Ong-Lim, the global pandemic was to blame for the decline in vaccine coverage, which is not unique to the Philippines.

The 17 million kids who lack DPT protection outside of the Philippines are from Angola, Brazil, the Dominican Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

From 86 percent in 2019 to 81 percent in 2021, the global immunization coverage decreased.

Children who were entirely unvaccinated rose by 5 million from 2019 to the same year.

“Now that the pandemic is almost over, let’s concentrate on these diseases that have always existed,” Ong-Lim added.

She advised parents and guardians to take their kids to the closest health centers for free vaccinations, especially those aged 0 to 59 months.

In order to discover and immunize children who missed the immunizations that help prevent them from illnesses, disabilities, and death, the WHO established World Immunization Week from April 24 to 30.

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