The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance mandating the City Social Welfare and Development office (CSWDO), through the child development workers, to require the parents/guardians to present their child’s immunization card upon enrollment at the city day care centers, and providing for mechanisms should the child be not immunized or partially immunized.
The passage of the ordinance was anchored on the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10152 which provided that the State shall adopt a comprehensive, mandatory and sustainable immunization program for vaccine-preventable diseases for all infants and children.
Further, the Constitution also provided that the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them and towards the said end, the child development centers of the local government shall ensure the implementation of the said mandate.
The ordinance tasked the CSWDO, through the child development workers, to require the parents/guardians of children to present their child’s immunization records or vaccination records which is part of the initial health record upon enrollment in the city management day care centers.
Under the ordinance, should the parent/guardian fail to present an immunization record of their child or was able to present one but with an incomplete record of immunization, the child development worker shall refer the parent/guardian to the City Health Services office or district health center for counseling.
Upon referral and counseling, should the parent/guardian consent to immunization, the health personnel shall prepare and administer the vaccines as per schedule, free of charge.
On the other hand, should the parent/guardian refuse to have the child vaccinated after counseling, the parent/guardian shall be required to submit a certification from a church official if for religious reasons, a certification from a government physician if for medical reasons and a certification from the parent/guardian assuming responsibility for the child’s health if for personal principles where the same shall be part of the health records of the child on file at the child development center.
According to the ordinance, since children entering the child development centers have already reached more than 3 years to 4 years old, vaccines for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) and oral polio shall be given as catch-up vaccines for children not fully vaccinated.
The ordinance stated that the measure seeks to encourage parents and guardians to have their infants and children be immunized against preventable diseases based on established protocols where the same is likewise intended to protect the children from infection and to spread the infection to other children.
The child development center is a community-based flagship program under the Early Childhood Care and Development Council. The center is the venue for the early learning program and family support programs under the CSWDO for the local government. It accepts children who are 3-4, 11 years old. Among the objectives of the early childhood development are to nurture the physical and mental development of the child.