The Department of Health (DOH) today joins the School-based Immunization (SBI) campaign north of Manila and continues to encourage mothers and caregivers to avail of the government’s free immunization services to provide children, as well as adolescents, greater protection against vaccine preventable diseases.

“School-based immunization is a strategy for reaching older children and adolescents,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said. “It is a platform to provide a second opportunity for vaccination and an excellent platform that integrates other public health interventions like mass deworming.”

The program aims to reach a total of 9,913,032 learners, under the school-based platform. For the 2019 school-based immunization, school children from kindergarten to Grade 7 (K – 7) are the target population to be vaccinated.

In the first week of July, SBI was launched in Signal Village National High School, Taguig City, where a total of 2,259 Grade 7 learners are targeted for measles vaccination and booster shots of Tetanus-diphtheria.

For the City of Valenzuela, a total of 58,037 learners from Grades 1 to 7 will be given measles containing vaccine (MCV), 14,967 Grades 1 and 7 learners will be given booster shots of Tetanus-diphtheria, and 3,473 Grade 4 female pupils will be given the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

The DOH’s school-based immunization program aims to reach more children, especially with the yearly increase in the number of enrollees.   Piloted in 2013 in selected provinces and cities nationwide, in August 2015, the DOH, in collaboration with Department of Education and the Department of Interior and Local Government, successfully conducted vaccinations in 38,688 public schools nationwide providing a second dose for measles and booster doses for diphtheria and tetanus. Since then, August has been declared School-Based Immunization month and the program has become an annual undertaking.

According to Secretary Duque, following the success of the Measles Outbreak Response (ORI) – which targeted the most vulnerable population, or those 6 – 59 months old nationwide, reaching the last mile or the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas or GIDAs –  the DOH will continue to provide MCV to school-age children from kindergarten to Grade 7 using the school-based platform. 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.

School-based immunization pre-implementation started June 2019 while actual vaccination using selective strategy in the country’s different regions will continue until September 2019.

“To all parents and caregivers, protect your children against vaccine preventable diseases. Bring them back to the health centers or have them vaccinated in schools. Back to health centers. Back to school. Back to Bakuna,” Duque concluded.