The Department of Health (DOH) today encouraged mothers and caregivers to avail of the government’s free school-based immunization (SBI) to provide children, as well as adolescents, greater protection against common childhood diseases.

“School-based immunization is a strategy for reaching older children and adolescents,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said, adding that it is a catch-up opportunity for children who have missed their scheduled vaccinations.

While vaccines given during infancy provide children a good start in life, giving vaccines to older children will ensure that they continue to be protected against life-threatening diseases as they become adults.

The DOH’s school-based immunization program aims to reach more children, especially with the yearly increase in the number of enrollees.

School-based immunization was piloted in 2013 in selected provinces and cities nationwide. In August 2015, the DOH, in collaboration with Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), successfully conducted vaccination in 38,688 public schools nationwide providing a second dose for measles and booster doses for diphtheria and tetanus. This became a yearly activity since 2015 when August was declared School-Based Immunization month.

According to Duque, this year’s school-based immunization aims to provide all public school learners enrolled in Kindergarten to Grade 7 a second opportunity for measles and rubella vaccine. The program will also provide grade 1 and 7 learners nationwide with booster doses of tetanus-diphtheria.

The health chief stressed that only learners with parental consent will be vaccinated after a quick health assessment and evaluation of their immunization status against measles.

A total of 9,913,032 learners are targeted to receive measles vaccine using the school bases platform. For the 2019 school-based immunization, school children from kindergarten to grade 7 (K – 7) are the target population to be vaccinated.

School-based immunization pre-implementation started June 2019 while actual vaccination using selective strategy will be until September 2019.

“Let us provide our children the much-needed protection against disease. Vaccination works.”, Duque concluded.