Traveling to Indonesia | You Might Need a Polio Vaccine

What is Polio?

Polomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious
 disease that is caused when a person is infected by the polio virus that invades the nervous system. Poliomyelitis can cause paralysis and even death. Polio vaccines are vaccines used to prevent poliomyelitis. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends all children be fully vaccinated with polio.

How Polio is Spread?
  • Lack of good hand washing practices
  • Contact with tiny amounts of feces (poop) of an infected person
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with infected feces
Signs & Symptoms of Polio
  • most people with polio do not feel sick
  • some people have only minor symptoms such as fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs
  • in rare case, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function (paralysis)
  • polio can be fatal if the muscles used for breathing are paralyzed or if there is an infection of the brain
Alert - Level 2 | Practiced Enhanced Precautions

We are traveling to Indonesia for leisure in December. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a polio outbreak reported in Papua Province, Indonesia. CDC recommends that all people visiting Indonesia be fully vaccinated against polio. The current outbreak is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV), a sign of low oral polio vaccine coverage in the country.

What is Vaccine-Derived Polio?

Polio caused by a vaccine strain is called vaccine-derived polio. The oral polio vaccine (made from a weakened strain of the poliovirus) is given as drops in the mouth to protect against polio. This vaccine has been extremely effective in wiping out polio in developing countries, when most of the population get vaccinated.

How Vaccine-Derived Polio is Spread?

In areas where there are low rates of vaccination against polio and sanitation is poor, the weakened vaccine virus can spread from person to person. Over time, as the virus spreads, it can regain its ability to cause disease in people who are not vaccinated. 

Before traveling to Indonesia, adults who completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of polio vaccine. Although we are not staying there for more than 4 weeks, we opted to get vaccinated to be on the safe side.

I called hospitals like Cardinal Santos Medical Center, St. Lukes Medical Center and De Los Santos Medical Center to inquire about polio vaccine. In my inquiry, I found out that the Department of Health launched a polio vaccination campaign called "Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio". The program aims to boost immunity against polio by giving three doses of the oral polio vaccine (OPV) to all children 5 years old and below for FREE. Here are the schedules of some of the hospitals that offer free polio vaccination:

Asian Hospital Medical Center | Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio Schedule
Outpatient Health Services (OHS) Pediatric Clinic, Lower Grounfd Floor, Tower 1
2205 Civic Drive, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
87719000 local 8018
November 25 to December 7, 2019
10:00 am to 12 nn and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

FEU-NRMF | Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio Schedule
Former Emergency Room
Regalado Avenue, Brgy. Fairview, Quezon City
November 25 to December 7
8:00 am to 3:00 pm

St. Luke's Medical Center Quezon City | Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio Schedule
Physical Rehabilitation Area
279 E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave., Quezon City
November 25 to December 7, 2019
9:00 am to 4:00 pm

2 Types of Polio Vaccine:
  • IPV- inactivated Poliovirus (injection)
  • OPV-weakend poliovirus (given by mouth)
Oral Polio Vaccine

Are you traveling abroad? Check with our Bureau of Quarantine (25th St., Port Area, Manila behind Manila Hotel) for the latest update on Oral Polio Vaccination Service.

Schedule | Service:
  • Monday to Friday
  • 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Who may avail of the service
  • Travelers going to countries with risk for Poliomyelitis Transmission
  • Foreigners/aliens coming from Polio Endemic Areas
Basic Requirements 
  • Duly accomplished DATA FORM or Referral Form from MPES
  • Vaccination Fee: PhP 300
Duration: 15 minutes

I read a lot of complaints from netizens about the long line of people (as early as 12 midnight) at the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) so we had our IPV done at De Los Santos Hospital in Quezon City (Trunk line: 88935762). As far as I know, there is only one pediatric doctor that injects the polio vaccine in that hospital. We paid PhP 500 each for IMOVAX, the same brand BOQ is using from SANOFI PASTEUR. The doctor signed a medical certificate with the name and lot number of the vaccine administered to us. We were in and out of the doctor's office in less than 10 minutes. 

I will update this entry if the medical certificate is accepted at our port of entry or we need the International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV), that's an additional PhP 300 for the certificate issued by the government. 

List of Countries that Requires International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV) for Long-Term Travelers (staying longer than 4 weeks):
  • Afghanistan
  • Belize
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Georgia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran 
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Maldives
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Qatar
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Seychelles
  • Ukraine

Have you been vaccinated with IPV? Did you go to the Bureau of Quarantine for the vaccination? How was your experience?

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