Polio vaccination in the Philippines is essential. Poliomyelitis, or simply polio, is a viral infection caused by the poliovirus. The virus travels to the nervous system and brainstem, which causes acute flaccid paralysis and even death. The paralysis is usually reversible but, in some cases, it can be permanent. It can be spread from person to person.
Polio mainly affects young children under the age of 5 years, but it can affect anyone who is not vaccinated against the virus. Because of this, the polio vaccine is part of the Philippine National Immunization Program (NIP).
To learn more about polio symptoms:
About the polio vaccine
The polio vaccine is available in an oral and injectable form. The oral polio vaccine (OPV) is administered by drops into the mouth. OPV is a live vaccine that offers protection against the 3 types of poliovirus. In addition, OPV gives more protection against “wild” types of the virus.
Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the second vaccine. Because IPV is inactivated, it is less likely to cause certain side effects or a strong immune response. It is an IM injection into a muscle in the thigh or arm.
It is best to give both OPV and IPV for total protection against all types of poliovirus.
Immunization schedule of polio vaccination in the Philippines
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children should be given 4 doses of the polio vaccine. The first dose is at 2 months, second at 4 months, third between 6 and 18 months, and the last dose between 4 and 6 years old.
The polio vaccination schedule in the Philippines starts at 6 to 8 weeks old (1 ½ to 2 months). The second dose at 10 to 16 weeks old (2 ½ to 3 months). The third dose at 14 weeks to 6 months (3 ½ months to 6 months. These 3 doses are of OPV. The last vaccine is IPV, given with the third OPV dose.
If your child misses an OPV dose, give the IPV vaccine before they turn 1 year old. Adults with incomplete polio immunization or never vaccinated will need 1 to 3 doses of IPV.
Are these vaccines safe?
Yes, all vaccines are safe and offer long-term benefits by boosting the immune system. Vaccines and needles today do not contain ingredients like mercury or lead. Vaccines do not cause autism.
As with any injection with a needle, slight pain, discomfort, or irritation may occur at the injection site. Swelling can occur but will disappear within a few hours. A bruise may form and last for a day or two. In some cases, low-fever can occur after receiving a vaccine. These are typical and not a sign of illness.
In addition, it is not possible to overdose when it comes to vaccines. Unlike medications, vaccines do not cause toxicity when a double dose is given. However, double doses of vaccines do not make them more effective than the normal dose.
If your child has a known allergy to the antibiotics polymyxin, neomycin, or streptomycin, they may not be able to receive IPV. Inform the doctor or healthcare provider before they receive this vaccine. OPV is the alternative.
Long-term benefits of polio vaccination in the Philippines
Polio is no longer present in most parts of the world. This can be credited to the invention of the vaccine and widespread vaccination programs. However, the Philippines has observed re-emergence of polio and other preventable diseases in recent years.
This is due to parents failing to complete their child’s immunization. The benefit of polio vaccination not only protects children, but immunocompromised or unvaccinated adults. While children can recover from polio, similar to the chickenpox, there may be long-term health risks.
Post-polio syndrome (PPS) can occur years after someone recovers from polio. With PPS, muscles and nerves previously affected by polio can become weak again. It can be deadly if breathing and swallowing are difficult. There is no treatment or cure for PPS. PPS needs to be studied more.
Polio vaccination in the Philippines is extremely important. In general, vaccines are safe and effective. Preventing childhood diseases before they happen offers protection to your child, family, and community.
Even with COVID-19, routine immunization is essential– if not more important than ever. Consult your doctor or contact your local health center for more information on vaccines and immunization programs.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.