Immunization continues despite COVID-19 pandemic—DOH Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY—The Department of Health (DOH) Region 5 reminded the public that the immunization for vaccine-preventable diseases continues amidst the implementation of extended or general community quarantine.

“Immunization is one important component of the Universal Health Care. It is an effective way to prevent diseases,” Dr. Monrey Mancilla, DOH-5 Immunization Program Manager, said.

Mancilla reiterated that children below five years old should complete the vaccination to prevent diseases such as polio, measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B.

There are also vaccines for pregnant women to fight tetanus and diphtheria. Moreover, senior citizens can also avail anti-pneumonia and anti-flu vaccines, he said.

Mancilla clarified that the anti-pneumonia or anti-flu vaccine for senior citizens is not a cure to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The flu vaccine was given every year while the anti-pneumonia was given only once to those 60 years old and above.

He also reminded the public that vaccines are free and accessible in health centers or Rural Health Units (RHUs).

“Some [RHUs] are providing schedules while following the infection prevention measures against COVID-19. There are also health workers who are doing a house-to-house vaccination,” he explained.

Through the Department Memorandum No. 2020-0150, DOH released the interim guidelines for immunization services in the context of COVID-19 outbreak. This is to ensure safety during the immunization activities.

Meanwhile, Mancilla said there were also booster doses for children in grades 1 and 7 for measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and diphtheria under the school-based immunization program of DOH.

“Supposedly, we are conducting the school-based immunization program every August. However, we are still waiting for the plans of the Department of Education on the resumption of classes,” he explained.

Mancilla warned Bicolanos that it is very important to continue the immunization amidst community quarantine because other diseases might spread without vaccination.

He said people need the vaccines that guarantee a lifelong immunity to fight germs, bacteria and viruses. He added that it is normal for a person to have a fever after vaccination.

“Vaccination can protect ourselves, our family and our community. Nonetheless, it is more effective with a healthy lifestyle,” he stated. (PIA5/CEB)