The 2019 outbreak began shortly after deadly dengue fever and measles Pandemics and as vaccination coverage plunged partly due to the botched rollout of dengue shot a few years earlier.
Polio is highly infectious and can lead to paralysis and even death. There is no known cure. The virus that re-emerged in the Philippines had genetically mutated from a weakened strain of wild polio that is contained in the oral vaccine used all over the world to control the disease.
Philippine health officials hope the success of the polio vaccination effort will be replicated in its rollout of Covid-19 jabs. Only around 1.6 million people or just over one percent of the population have been fully vaccinated against the disease. The glacial pace has been blamed on supply shortages and safety fears.
“We have numerous surveys indicating that vaccine confidence is low, but this (polio) campaign has proven otherwise,” Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said.
“Hopefully these kinds of activities and these kinds of efforts will be paralleled and patterned when we do our Covid-19 vaccinations and when supplies are ready.”