The Manila City government’s anti-polio campaign will remain persistent even as some parents reportedly refused to have their children vaccinated amid an outbreak.

Manila Health Department (MHD) chief Dr. Arnold “Poks” Pangan said that the percentage of children who have availed the local government’s polio immunization program was still at 55%.

Dr. Pangan said his agency will ask for help not only from national government officials but also popular celebrities to help inform parents of the benefits of vaccination.

“To intensify our information drive, we will seek the assistance of key government officials as well as celebrities to help us encourage parents to have their children vaccinated,” the MHD chief said.

“In addition, the house-to-house campaign waged by our MHD personnel will remain persistent,” he added.

The MHD chief made the remark after a Department of Health (DOH) official disclosed in a television interview that “about 11-percent” of mothers refused to have their children vaccinated.

DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ABS-CBN News Channel that “the mothers were saying that they don’t need it.”

“It has been reported ever since 2016 that a lot of mothers are already refusing vaccination. We don’t know why, we have asked some, of course there would be this controversy, others would be not believing these vaccines,” she said.

The Manila City government, in partnership with the DOH, launched a mass polio immunization program on August 19 to intensify efforts to prevent the disease.

The Philippines was declared polio-free since 2000, but was recently considered at “high-risk” due to low vaccination. An outbreak was declared on September 19, 2019 after two cases of polio were reported.

(MPIO News Release/Pubmat by Carlo Asoro)