Delayed vaccine schedule caused 2nd PH polio case - DOH-CALABARZON

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21)— A health official from CALABARZON said the caretakers of the 5-year-old boy who contracted vaccine-derived polio in Barangay Lingga, Calamba City did not follow the prescribed schedule that led to his illness.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, DOH Region 4A Director Dr. Eduardo Janairo said the child’s first dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV) was given in August 2014, and the second one was given in October of the same year.

The child’s third dose of OPV, coupled with the inactivated polio vaccine or IPV, was given six months later, in February 2015.

According to the Health Department’s 2019 vaccination schedule, the first OPV dose should be given 1 and a half months from birth, followed by the second OPV dose at 2-and-a-half months, and the third OPV-IPV dose at 3-and-a-half months from birth.

Ang kanyang polio ay nagmula mismo dun sa vaccine na nag-mutate dahil hindi tama 'yung pagbibigay,” Janairo said.

[Translation: The child’s polio came from the [virus in the] vaccine that mutated because it wasn’t administered in time.]

The World Health Organization says the polio virus included in oral polio vaccines lingers in the intestines, and is excreted through human feces. On rare occasions, the agency says, the virus can transform into a paralytic form called circulating vaccine-derived polio virus (cVDPV).

The WHO also says low vaccination coverage is the problem, and not the vaccine itself, as multiple doses of the polio vaccine help protect children and stop transmission of the polio virus.

Another factor being looked at by health officials is the possibility that the boy contracted the disease from being exposed to food, water, and surroundings contaminated by the polio vaccine-virus he excreted. Aside from diarrhea, Janairo adds, the child had other illnesses including tuberculosis, pneumonia, and a liver disease called biliary atresia. As a result, the child’s caretakers – his grandparents and uncle - will also be tested for polio.

In a statement released Friday, the DOH also said the child experienced the onset of paralysis last August 25. The boy can now walk and is recovering at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.

Dr. Janairo says on-ground monitoring and vaccination programs are being done around the region.

Ang importante na aksyon ay 'yung pagbibigay ngayon ng polio vaccine. 'Yan ang kailangan. Massive vaccination na naman natin, pagdating sa pag-prevent nitong polio,” Janairo says.

[Translation: The important action now is to distribute polio vaccines. We need massive vaccination to prevent the spread of polio.]

On Wednesday, the DOH declared a polio outbreak in the Philippines, 19 years after the country was first declared polio-free.

A 3-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur was the first confirmed vaccine-derived polio case in the Philippines after nineteen years. She was unvaccinated against polio. Health officials are still investigating how she contracted the virus.

Polio virus samples were also detected from sewage in Tondo, Manila, and in waterways in Davao City.

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