The Philippines has been free of polio for 16 months. WHO and UNICEF have declared the outbreak to be over.
According to the Associated Press, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund have proclaimed the polio outbreak in the Philippines to be over after 16 months without a confirmed case.
In 2019, over 20 years after the WHO declared the Philippines polio-free, health officials observed a resurgence of the illness. The Philippine Department of Health completed its massive immunization and monitoring program on June 3, according to WHO and UNICEF.
Polio is a viral infection that causes paralysis and death and has no known cure. Following the 2019 revival, the country delivered 30 million polio vaccination doses to youngsters, even as the disease’s spread began to overlap with COVID-19 outbreaks in 2020.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, a WHO official in the Philippines, said, “This is a big achievement for public health and an outstanding illustration of what collective efforts can achieve, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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A fear concerning another vaccine also hampered the polio immunization campaign.
In 2017, the government’s immunization initiatives were hampered by a dengue fever vaccine produced by Sanofi Pasteur, which some Philippine officials blamed for the deaths of at least three children.
After Sanofi announced a study revealed the vaccine may raise the risk of severe dengue infections, the authorities canceled the dengue immunization campaign. The Dengvaxia vaccination was given to about 830,000 children during the program, which began in 2016 and ended in 2017.
Officials from Sanofi stated the Dengvaxia vaccine was safe and that if the immunization campaign persisted, it would cut dengue illnesses.
Since then, Philippine health officials have tried to re-establish public trust in vaccines.