April 29, 2019
The Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), held a two-day event on April 29 and 30 to celebrate World Immunization Week 2019 with the theme Protected Together: Vaccines Work!
The World Immunization Week is celebrated every last week of April to promote the importance of vaccines in protecting people of all ages from certain diseases. This year’s celebration aimed to strongly underscore the benefits of immunization. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.
“Immunization remains to be one of the most effective protection against diseases. The past few months served as a challenge for us to step up our immunization program and I am grateful to our health workers and partners for their support. With their help, we have vaccinated 3.8 million Filipino children against measles,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
“Increasing immunization coverage requires everyone to work together urgently. UNICEF appreciates the partnership with the Department of Health and WHO and will continue to support reaching every Filipino child with lifesaving vaccines. Every child has the right to best possible health care, to survive and thrive,” says UNICEF Representative Ms. Julia Rees.
This year, the campaign also highlights the essential role that the Vaccine Heroes — parents, teachers, and health workers, to innovators and health advocates — play in ensuring that we all get the protection we need through proper vaccination.
On April 29, a community engagement event was held at Baseco, Manila to highlight the Vaccine Heroes from their community and showcase the various strategies they employed in reaching and improving their immunization coverage. The event featured on-site vaccination services to further encourage vaccination in the community. There were also educational activities to engage the participants to know more about the importance of immunization.
On April 30, the World Immunization Week partners convened at Hotel H2O in Luneta, Manila to recognize the efforts of the partners from development organizations, religious groups, professional society, civil society organizations, other government agencies, the private sector, in helping rebuild public confidence in vaccines and for their continuous support for the national immunization program. The event also served as an opportunity for the sectoral partners to renew their commitments in aiding the national and global immunization program.
It was through immunization efforts that the Philippines was declared polio-free since 2000. Polio is a highly infectious viral disease that invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis. In 2017, the Philippines was also declared as having eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. But despite its proven successes, the DOH’s National Immunization Program has been challenged with reaching every child for vaccination, to achieve the 95% coverage target.
“The recent measles outbreak highlighted the importance of immunization in saving lives and protecting communities. This year’s World Immunization Week celebration also marks a critical start in further strengthening the immunization program. We laud the Department of Health in taking opportunity of this event to engage more vaccination partners within and beyond the health sector, and in intensifying community ownership of the immunization program,” said WHO Representative in the Philippines Dr. Gundo Weiler. “WHO continues to support the DOH in ensuring that every Filipino child is vaccinated.”
For more information on the DOH’ National Immunization Program, visit: https://www.doh.gov.ph
World Health Organization:
Communications Officer, WHO Philippines
Department of Health - Media Relations Unit
(632) 651-7800 local 1126/1136