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Traveling Abroad? You might want to check your host country’s immunization requirements

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Reporter/CDN Digital | February 23,2020 - 08:22 AM
Travelling with a duffel bag, and passport

FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Summer is just a few sleeps away and Cebuanos who are planning to spend their vacations outside the country should have another thing to put on their checklist.

Since the Philippines declared a polio outbreak in September 2019, health officials ‘strongly advised’ Filipino travelers to take a booster shot of polio immunization before traveling.

Immunization requirements

In an advisory issued by the Department of Health (DOH) in October 2019, health officials urged travelers, especially Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), to check immunization requirements of their host countries. 

“They are encouraged to check the immunization requirements of the country they are going to, and if required, receive a dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) before departure and get their International Certificate of Vaccination from the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to serve as proof of their vaccination,” the advisory stated.

The International Certificate of Vaccination will serve as proof that an adult has been administered with a booster shot of IPV.

Presently, these are the countries that require travelers to have themselves inoculated with polio vaccine, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) – Afghanistan, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, and Ukraine.

People can check the full list of immunization requirements per country here: https://www.who.int/ith/ith-country-list.pdf 

DOH likewise advised travelers coming into the Philippines to have themselves inoculated with IPV no later than a month prior to their trip to the Philippines, or at the very least, “at the time of departure.”

Poliovirus and Butuanon River

On February 17, DOH confirmed reports by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) that the Butuanon River in Mandaue City, Cebu tested positive for poliovirus.

Poliovirus causes poliomyelitis, or simply known as polio, which is a highly infectious disease that attacks the nervous system.

An estimated 20,000 children living in Mandaue City were identified to be inoculated with three doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) and IPV. 

Children below 5-years-old are considered the most vulnerable when contracting polio. /dbs

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