Malacañang, together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has called on local government units (LGUs) to help counter the reemergence of polio in the country. This developed as new cases of polio were recorded in the country, 19 years after it was declared polio-free.

UNICEF called on LGUs, public servants, religious leaders, even celebrities to take part in the campaign.

UNICEF country representative Oyun Dendevnorov said, “Every community leader, religious leader and celebrity must mobilize their communities to participate in immunization activities.”

Dendevnorov advised LGUs to play the primary role in convincing parents to have their children vaccinated. She added that many children will stay healthy and protected from the polio virus if full immunization is done. She also stressed the need for administering multiple doses, and covering all children in order to effectively counter the polio virus.

“Vaccination is the best and only protection against polio,” she said.

Malacañang sounded the same call to parents with children who haven’t been vaccinated yet, stressing that the Department of Health (DOH) offers free vaccination.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said, “We know that the vaccine from the DOH is free, it’s just a matter of convincing the families to have their children vaccinated.”

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has strongly encouraged local chief executives to take part in the polio vaccine campaign.

The DOH is closely working with UNICEF and the World Health Organization as part of a mass immunization campaign starting October.

The department declared an outbreak after the first confirmed case of polio involving a three-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur. The second case involved a five-year-old boy from Laguna. Meanwhile, the polio virus was also detected in samples taken from sewage in Manila and in Davao River.

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