BAGUIO CITY – In a public consultation held last November 4, Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda stressed that there is a pressing need to encourage parents in the city to have their infants and children receive mandatory vaccines against preventable diseases. Tabanda explained that childhood immunization gives
protection not only to the vaccinated but also to the people around them, especially the vulnerable groups.

“Immunization boosts the infant’s or the child’s immune system and greatly reduces the severity of the disease. It protects the body from serious complications that have debilitating and fatal effects,” she said.
The councilor explained that despite the free mandatory basic immunization being given by government hospitals or health centers to infants up to five years of age, there may still be infants and children who
have not received the immunization shots.

Meanwhile, City Epidemiologist Dr. Donnabel Panes presented the number of cases of five most common
vaccine-preventable diseases in the city. From 2017 to 2021, measles was the most prevalent vaccine-preventable disease with 912 cases respectively followed by Hand-Foot-and- Mouth Disease (HFMD) with
398 cases, Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) with 32 cases, Pertussis with 18 cases, and Diphtheria with four cases. No cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (Polio) and Neonatal Tetanus were recorded within the said period.

Panes revealed that, in 2020, the city’s rating for fully immunized children was only 44% because of the COVID-19 pandemic which explains the high percentage of cases of measles in 2020 and onward. She said the city government is now doubling its efforts in immunizing infants and children in the city. She reminded parents to immediately alert the City Health Services Office or the nearest health center if a child manifests signs and symptoms of any of these vaccine-preventable diseases.

To help expedite the vaccination or immunization of children in the city, Tabanda has proposed an ordinance seeking to put into place a policy requiring that only fully vaccinated children shall be admitted to child development centers (CDCs) operated by the city government. She explained that her proposed ordinance is anchored in Republic Act No. 10152, a national law that mandates the immunization of infants and children in the country.

“Let us start with our children in child development centers. Then we can work on the immunization of other children in the city later on,” she stated. Under the proposed ordinance, the city social worker, as the service provider of the CDC, shall be mandated to require the parent/guardian of the child to present the Child Immunization Record or vaccination card/report upon enrollment.

According to the proposal, should the parent/guardian fail to present any, or was able to present one but it reflects an incomplete record of vaccines received by the child according to protocol, the daycare worker
shall still accept the child but shall advise the parent/guardian to execute an undertaking to have the child vaccinated or complete the vaccine requirements.

Exemptions shall be given to children who cannot be immunized due to medical reasons as determined by a doctor and due to religious reasons. To be exempted, the parents shall present a medical certification issued by a physician or a certification from the church or religious group the child belongs to. The mandatory basic immunization covers vaccine preventable diseases such as tuberculosis; diphtheria,
tetanus, and pertussis (DPT); poliomyelitis; measles; mumps; rubella or German measles; hepatitis-B; influenza type B; and other types as may be determined by the Secretary of Health.

Also present during the forum was Sonia Insas, Nurse V of the City Health Services Office, who discussed about the different types of vaccines The forum was attended by day care workers in the city and mothers from the different barangays.

Jordan G. Habbiling/SP

Amianan Balita Ngayon