Taiwan parents warned against kids visiting Philippines over polio fears

The Philippines has reported three polio cases since September and parents should err on side of caution if they plan to visit with children

(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Parents in Taiwan are advised to err on the side of caution if they are planning to visit the Philippines with their kids, since the country has recorded three polio cases since Sept. 19.

The confirmed cases involved children aged 3 to 5, from the provinces of, respectively, Lanao del Sur, Laguna, and Maguindanao, said Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Southeast Asian country has a relatively low immunization coverage rate of 66 percent against the highly-contagious poliovirus.

The Philippine government has since October embarked on a vaccination program that focuses on kids below the age of 5. Follow-up inoculation work will resume in late November and January, according to CDC.

Local residents or individuals who have stayed in the Philippines for more than four weeks are advised to receive polio vaccinations before leaving the country. The vaccines should be administered four weeks to 12 months prior to departure, in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

Inter-departmental campaigns have been conducted to urge Filipino visitors and migrant workers in Taiwan to get polio shots. Taiwan residents are also encouraged to ensure they are protected against the disease before traveling to the Philippines.

Youngsters who have not acquired full immunity to the disease are warned against visiting the country to prevent transmission. Currently, children in Taiwan receive five shots in total, administered at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 18 months after birth, as well as at the age between 5 and before starting elementary school.