October 7, 2014

PH the first country to introduce IPV in routine immunization; Every newborn in the Philippines will now receive the Inactivated Polio Vaccine

In celebration of World Polio Day, the Department of Health launch the inactivated injectable polio vaccine (IPV) to keep the Philippines polio-free, during the event yesterday (October 6, 2014) held at the Paranaque City Hall, San Antonio Valley1, Paranaque City.

Deaprtment of Health Secretary Enrique Ona

“The introduction of inactivated polio vaccines will allow us to improve the protection of Filipino children against polio and maintain our polio-free status in the country,” Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona declared.

Here's another decisive step towards global polio eradication by 2018 – The Department of Health welcomed the official celebration of the introduction of the inactivated injectable polio vaccine (IPV) in the Philippines immunization schedule.

The Philippines is the first developing country in Eastern Asia to introduce IPV in routine immunization, following the universal recommendation issued by WHO earlier in 2014. It is also the biggest developing country in the world to introduce IPV and is expected to be watched closely by many countries which have already announced their intention to introduce IPV.

Yesterday, October 6, 2014, several children were vaccinated with Inactivated Injectable Polio vaccine (IPV), Imovax® Polio, at a celebration of the introduction held at the Paranaque City Hall, chaired by Janette Garin, Under Secretary of Health.

The introduction of IPV is a part of the DOH expanded program on immunization for children.

They are the first of more than two million Filipino children who will now be vaccinated every year, 14 weeks after birth. One injection of IPV will be given to every child along with one injection of a pediatric pentavalent combination preventing diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis B, and one dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV).

The universal introduction of IPV, a vaccine that has been used in the majority of the developed world for years, is a necessary step toward achieving a polio-free world by 2018.

Filipinos are part of trade, commerce, innovation and the labor market around the world so the country plays an extremely important part in global efforts to end polio forever. 

The Philippines has an emotional attachment to zero polio that stretches back to the start of mass polio epidemics in the world in the late nineteenth century: the first prime minister of the Philippines and a hero of the country’s anti-colonial struggles, Apolinario Mabini was a polio survivor who lived with lifelong disabilities caused by the disease.

The last polio case in the country was recorded in 1993. With the sustained effort of the Department of Health on the polio eradication initiative, in October 2000 the Western Pacific Region of the World Health Organization and all its member countries have been certified polio-free. For a region to be certified as polio-free, there should be no reported cases of indigenous polio 3 years preceding the certification.

Dr Janette Garin, Under Secretary of Health

The Philippines decided to buy IPV with its own national health budget, according to Dr Garin. “As a medical doctor, I am delighted that we are among the first developing countries to invest in the polio vaccine that children already get in Europe and North America. Our children deserve to be protected fully against the disease that killed and crippled so many Filipinos even during the time I was growing up”, she said.

“I am also proud that Filipinos have inspired and led many of the global civil society efforts against childhood diseases including polio. Imagining and calling for a better world is part of our national genius. Polio eradication can be our generation’s legacy to all future generations” she added.

“The DOH recognizes immunization as a key element in reducing the burden of childhood mortality and morbidity and the inclusion of the IPV boosts our children’s health and immunization programs,” the health chief said.

Countries and partners move forward to the end of polio

The universal introduction of IPV is part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Endgame Strategic Plan. The Plan was endorsed by 194 countries in 2013 and offers a comprehensive roadmap that includes ending polio transmission, improving routine immunization rates and creating a lasting blueprint for addressing other significant global health challenges.

“Sanofi Pasteur has been a public health partner of Filipino health authorities for years," said Olivier Charmeil, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur. 

"It is our mission to build a nation where no one suffers or dies from a vaccine preventable disease. We are very proud to help the country remain polio-free. Today, the Philippines move is an inspiration to many countries that are likely to introduce IPV in the coming months. Today we are getting a little closer to the day when polio will be just a memory and its horrors will be consigned to history.”

This sentiment is echoed by Sanofi Pasteur Philippines Country Manager, Ching Santos, as she states, “Sanofi Pasteur Philippines is one with the Department of Health in ending polio. Our company has provided all doses of both OPV and IPV to support the Philippines program against polio. We are proud to contribute to the protection of the men, women and children of our country and will continue to provide quality and innovative products for disease prevention. Along with our partners in the immunization committee, we will carry this out with passion knowing that we make a difference in the lives of Filipinos.”

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