Parañaque City Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez on Monday vowed to mobilize all the city’s available manpower and physical resources to ensure the success of the introduction of the inactivated polio vaccine or IPV in the Philippines as part of a global effort to finally eradicate the deadly and dreaded disease.
During ceremonies held at the Session Hall of the Parañaque City Legislative Building, the mayor also thanked Health Secretary Enrique Ona, who led the IPV introduction, for choosing Parañaque for the historic launch of the “End Polio Now” campaign.
“I would like to thank Secretary Ona for his trust and confidence and for choosing Parañaque City for the launching of the IPV introduction in the Philippines,” the local chief executive said. “We are honored to play a key role in this important and landmark immunization program as part of the global efforts to eradicate polio by the year 2018.”
The Philippines is one of only a handful of countries where IPV is currently being introduced. While IPV is widely used in more advanced countries, many developing countries like the Philippines have only been using oral polio vaccines or OPVs, which are effective only against the wild poliovirus, also known as Type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus.
The IPV, on the other hand, protects against polio type 1 and type 3 viruses, according to the DOH.
The inclusion of the IPV in the government’s expanded immunization program is in response to the World Health Organization’s Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 that was drawn up after the World Health Assembly in May 2012.
While the Philippines has been declared polio-free since 2000, the country is deemed a high risk country for polio importation because of its highly mobile population and the big number of ports of entry as well as the presence of areas where immunization coverage is low. There are still some countries in the Middle East and Africa with polio cases.
The DOH selected Parañaque for the IPV launch because of the city’s good track record in immunization coverage under the administration of Mayor Olivarez and the city’s health officer, Dr. Olga Virtuzio.
“We accept this huge responsibility to ensure that the introduction of this new immunization program will be a success. We promise to mobilize all our available manpower and physical resources for this endeavor,” the mayor said.
“You can rest assured that we will waste no time in implementing and introducing IPVs in our immunization regimes because we want Parañaque to be a leading example and role model for the rest of the country when it comes to the delivery of health services,” Olivarez added.