MANILA — The Department of Health is extending its vaccination drive against polio in the National Capital Region and all regions in Mindanao until April 2020 to achieve wider immunization coverage.
The DOH said two rounds of the "Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio" campaign will be held in NCR from January 27 to February 7, and March 9 to March 20.
A limited response round, meanwhile, will be conducted in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga City, Isabela City, and Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat on January 6 to 12.
The rest of Mindanao will also have two rounds, scheduled on February 17 to March 1 and March 23 to April 4.
The DOH said it aims to achieve 95-percent coverage in each round to ensure that no child is left unvaccinated.
"We need the participation of everybody to successfully end this outbreak – other government agencies, the local government units, partners, our local health workers and bakunators," said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a statement.
Prior to the extension, the supposed last round of vaccination was scheduled this month in Mindanao.
In September, the DOH confirmed the return of polio in the Philippines 19 years after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the country free from the disease.
At least 9 cases of polio have been recorded in the country since September.
Polio is a "highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children," according to the WHO. Severe polio cases may cause paralysis and death.
Children are recommended to receive 3 OPV doses and one shot of inactivated polio vaccine to be fully protected from the disease.