The City Health Office has extended its Measles-Rubella (MR) – bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) Supplementation Immunization Activity campaign until June 15.

The campaign, which aims to immunize children 0-59 months old against measles, rubella, and polio, was initially planned to last for the entire month of May. However, since the target population of children to be inoculated is yet to be reached, the Department of Health has extended the program until the second week of this month.

CHO Officer-in-Charge Dr. Tomas Miguel Ababon, during the I-Speak Media Conference on Thursday, said that from May 1 to June 7, the CHO immunized a total of 130,063 children with the (MR) vaccine, this makes up around 84 percent of the target population of 154,138.

For the OPV, the CHO inoculated 21,529 children or around 76 percent of the targeted 28,423 children for the same period.

“The national target is 95 percent, and with this extension, probably Davao will achieve around 87 percent; hopefully we can reach 90 percent [for MR vaccination],” Ababon said.

Though the CHO has taken the vaccination drive to every purok of each barangay in the city, Ababon said the campaign met challenges due to the numerous far-flung barangays that are not easily accessible.

Another challenge to the campaign is the presence of a certain population of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, with some preferring to have their kids immunized by the family physician.

The target population set by the DOH, according to Ababon, in itself is also a challenge since these numbers do not necessarily reflect the actual population size of children in various barangays of the city.

“Some of the targeted population is way above the actual population of the area, or of the districts. Kasi merong (This is because there are) in-migration and out-migration in the city so that’s why we will not be able to reach the target in some barangays,” he said.

Because of this, only a handful of areas in the city successfully reached the target population for immunization. Among these are Marilog and Paquibato which reached 97 percent and 101 percent, respectively, of their target population for MR administration from May 1 to June 7.

Ababon urged parents of children 0-59 months to have their kids immunized by visiting the nearest health center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CIO