MANILA (XINHUA) – More than one million children in the Philippines have yet received a single dose of routine vaccine, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said yesterday.
UNICEF said nearly 1.5 million Filipino children have yet to receive or complete their polio vaccine, making 67 provinces in the country at high risk for polio infections.
Polio is a highly infectious disease that can cause paralysis or death. Complete vaccination for polio according to schedule is the most effective way to protect children from this disease.
Meanwhile, all regions in the Philippines are also at high-risk for a measles outbreak, said the UN agency, citing a 2022 World Health Organization Risk Assessment.
UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov told a press conference that the increasing number of children at risk of measles, polio, and other vaccine-preventable diseases “must be treated as a public health emergency that needs urgent action”.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic “highlights the need to strengthen primary health care”, urging the authorities to prioritise investments and bolster human resources to reach zero-dose children.