MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo called on Filipinos to have their children vaccinated against the poliovirus immediately after the nation’s health officials declared a polio outbreak.
Philippine health officials declared the outbreak after a 3-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy reportedly tested positive for the crippling disease, the first cases since 2000, when the country was declared polio-free, reported ucanews.com.
“It is very sad that there is a reemergence of polio after having eliminated it for years,” said Bishop Pabillo, who urged the Health Department to address any fears parents might have in getting their children vaccinated.
Polio, short for poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus is usually spread from person to person through infected fecal matter entering the mouth.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the Health Department declared an outbreak after “environmental samples” from the cities Manila and Davao tested positive for the virus.
The Health Department said that it is working to regain public trust in the government’s vaccination programs in the aftermath of a scrapped anti-dengue campaign.
In 2017, the government recalled the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia after its manufacturer said it could cause severe symptoms if given to those who have not had the mosquito-borne disease before.
Health officials have admitted that since then, all other vaccination programs have been regarded with suspicion.
“The fears of the parents will have to be addressed by educating everyone about vaccination against polio, that it is safe and necessary,” said Bishop Pabillo.
He said the Health Department should also be “very transparent in its programs to gain the trust of the people and to allay their fears.”
Ucanews.com reported health officials admitted that low vaccination coverage, poor early surveillance of polio symptoms, and substandard sanitation practices caused the reemergence of the virus.
Symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and sudden onset of floppy arms or legs.
In severe cases, it can lead to permanent paralysis or even death. Children under age 5 are most vulnerable to the disease.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103