Health experts call for continued immunization amid pandemic. Vaccination rate in the Philippines is now at an all-time low because of the lockdown, a Department of Health (DOH) official said.
The Department of Health and other medical experts are calling for continued immunization despite the quarantine explaining that the country could not afford an outbreak within a pandemic.
The DOH National Immunization Program manager, Dr. Maria Wilda Silva, said that from January to March, vaccination coverage has dropped to 7 percent which is an all-time low. This number is way below the ideal 24 percent coverage for the country to reach the 95 percent target by end 2020.
“This is very low because of the disruption from both the supply and demand side,” Silva said in the recent online kapihan of Samahang Plaridel.
The call for immunization is strongly aligned with the statements released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF which also highlighted the importance of continuing vaccination at this challenging time.said that the benefits of immunization clearly outweigh the risks at this time.
“Don’t be afraid because children must get immunized. They are at higher risk of getting measles, polio, pneumonia and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” according to Dr. Lulu Bravo said, Executive Director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination.
“Let us all be reminded that first, if children and other vulnerable sectors are not vaccinated, they can get sick and can die from these vaccine-preventable diseases,” she adds.
Silva shared that one of the vaccine-preventable diseases, pneumonia, remains the number one killer disease among children 5 years old and below. The tender for the child pneumococcal vaccine—between PCV 10 and PCV 13– is currently being reviewed by the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) for comparability and cost effectiveness.
Asked on the new evidence presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) saying that the two PCVs in the market are equally effective in protecting the children from pneumonia, Silva said: “When we did the cost effectiveness analysis, they are both cost effective. The price of PCV10 and PCV13, they fall on that range na cost effective sila pareho. But, of course, there is another benefit when we chose the PCV13 because it contains te three serotypes that are not found in PCV10 before. But now with the new evidence, this was now presented to National Immunization Committee and then it was brought up to the HTAC for further review and we are waiting for the review.”
The PCV tender is massive, which is even bigger than that of the controversial Dengvaxia procurement.
“Currently, there is only one available pneumococcal conjugate vaccine available in the market