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In efforts to avoid an even bigger crisis, the UNICEF urged the Philippines to expand its immunization efforts on children.
The country representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov urged the Philippines on Wednesday to expand and ramp up the immunization programs of children, which comes alongside the nation’s COVID-19 response.
In a statement, Dendevnorov cited that routine immunizations of minors decreased to 62% in 2020 from 70% in 2015.
She said the number of children at risk of getting infected with deadly illnesses has been rising over the years and was made worse by the current pandemic.
“This is worrying and demands urgent attention. We cannot let the country’s routine immunization coverage decrease any further. Otherwise, this can lead to an even greater crisis, which we cannot afford to have,” she said.
Furthermore, the UNICEF country representative listed possible reasons that may have affected the regular vaccination of children, such as the redirection of resources to the country’s COVID-19 response, disruptions in delivery of immunization services, as well as disruptions in transport services.
With the present lockdown measures in effect, and the lack of transport services, these may have resulted in parents not being able to take their children to health centers, or were afraid due to fears of getting infected with COVID-19, said Dendevnorov.
She also called out to parents to immunize their children, as well as to local government units to augment their support immunization services.
By continuing the immunizations on children, their risks of them getting sick with other diseases are minimized.
According to reports, Department of Health (DOH) director Beverly Ho said the government eyes to inoculate 1.1 million infants across the country and about four million school-aged children.