San Fernando City, La Union – The Department of Health Region I (DOH-RO1) in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd)-RO1 and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-RO1 launched the first ever School-Based Immunization program at Laoag Central Elementary School (LCES), Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on Aug. 3, 2015. More than 150 Grade 1 Elementary Pupils were injected with Measles Rubella (MR) and Tetanus Diphtheria (TD) vaccines.
According to Dr. Edwin V. Monis, Chief of the Local Health Support Division of the DOH – RO1, the program aims to instill into the mind of school children the knowledge and attitude on how to become a healthy person. It also intends to educate the parents about the importance of immunization.
Dr. Monis explained that although a child had already been vaccinated, the level of protection declines over a long period of time. A booster dose is needed to have an extensive protection. He emphasized further that the three agencies desire to institutionalize the program in the public school as it is hoped to create health awareness and development of a child.
On the other hand, Dr. Renato Mateo, City Health Officer of Laoag City, stated that the undertaking will ensure that no child will suffer measles or born with congenital rubella syndrome. “Measles is a highly contagious disease. It is one of the causes of death and disability among young children worldwide,” he said. “Rubella can cause severe birth defects and the virus will infect anyone who is not protected,” he added. Considering that vaccination has been proven to be an effective public health intervention and protects an individual, family members and the community, Dr. Mateo encouraged parent’s active participation. With this, reinfection may be minimized if not totally avoided.
Speaking on behalf of all the teachers, Mr. Cornelio Gimmy C. Lucas, Principal IV of LCES, stated that it is a great honor and privilege for the school to be the site of the School-Based Immunization. “The immunization is a blessing to you my dear parents as you can be assured of the health of your children. I believe that if the body of the child is healthy, his mind will also be healthy,” Lucas said.
Lucas stressed his gratitude to the DOH, DepEd, DILG, City Government of Laoag, Provincial Government of llocos Norte and other stakeholders for the support they have given to the school and for considering LCES as the venue of the first ever School-Based Immunization program in region 1. He is also thankful to the parents for allowing their children to be vaccinated.