Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial said Thursday the free dengue vaccination program targeting nine-year-old public school students in Cebu province, which has begun in Lapu-Lapu City, is community-based and not school-based.
Ubial explained that under a community-based program, the vaccine will be offered by health centers and the children should be accompanied by their parents or guardians.
She noted that the department decided to offer the dengue vaccines through health centers in Cebu after the Department of Education (DepEd) declined to sign a memorandum of agreement to collaborate with them on the program.
“There were reasons cited by DepEd, such as trainings needed for the administration of vaccines and lack of preparation. We respect that,” said Ubial.
She said the dengue vaccines to be used in Cebu are part of those procured for 700,000 nine-year-old public school students in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Calabarzon for the school-based immunization program launched in April last year.
Some 500,000 vaccines however have not been used since not all of the target students were able to avail of the vaccine, which is given in three doses, six months apart. The final dose is set to be administered this month and July.
Once this final phase is completed, unused vaccines will be used for the community-based program in Cebu, Ubial said.
Cebu’s provincial health office recorded 9,137 dengue cases last year, a sharp rise from 2,486 in 2015.
The DOH meanwhile has recorded 35,973 dengue cases nationwide from Jan. 1 to May 20 this year. (Leilani S. Junio/PNA)