The Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), launched ‘Chikiting Bakunation Days’, an annual vaccination drive that aims to reach at least one million children who have missed out and are yet to receive any routine vaccine on World Immunization Week 2022.
More than half of the vaccine-eligible children born during the COVID-19 pandemic – around 1.4 million children – have not had a single vaccine.
However, even before the pandemic, the Philippines was among the top 10 countries in the world that constitute a great number of under vaccinated or unvaccinated children.
With the Chikiting Bakunation Days, which will run every last week of the months of April to June 2022 nationwide, vaccines against polio, measles, hepatitis B, pneumonia, and other vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) will be administered.
“We want to replicate the success of the COVID-19 National Vaccination Drives (NVDs) for routine childhood vaccinations. This is to help improve immunization coverage among the pediatric population. With the help of our stakeholders, we can ensure that vaccines are available, sufficient, and accessible to our local health facilities and communities. Together, we shall stop not only COVID-19 but also other potential vaccine preventable diseases and outbreaks,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.
WHO and UNICEF pledged to continue their support by providing resources in vaccine management, research, and planning at a regional and national level as a step in preventing outbreaks in countries with an alarming decline in vaccination coverage.
“To reach every child with life saving vaccines, we need investments in planning and monitoring, human resources, and targeted support for LGUs that are lagging behind. We stand together to make Chikiting Bakunation Days a success for children, and we commend the DOH for the initiative in taking the action in protecting the children,” said UNICEF Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov.
Further, WHO and UNICEF encourage local leaders and health authorities to make vaccines for children more accessible. The agencies also recommend areas with low vaccination rates and areas prone to outbreaks receive comprehensive support to enable them to organize regular outreach services.
“Vaccines bring us closer to a world where future generations are protected from disease outbreaks and epidemics. We are making vital progress against today’s biggest health challenges, but we must ensure everyone, everywhere can benefit. Vaccines give everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential and pursue a life well-lived,” said Dr Rajendra Yadav, Acting WHO Representative to the Philippines. (DOH)