MANILA, July 2 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government launched on Monday the rotavirus vaccination targeting some 700,000 poorest Filipino infants to be initially vaccinated for this year.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said that the beneficiaries will be infants aged 1 1/2 months up to 3 1/2 months.
"This is a breakthrough in Philippine health care as we are the first country in Southeast Asia to introduce and implement this life-saving vaccine in our expanded program of immunization," he said.
Rotavirus is a virus that infects the bowels. According to the World Health Organization, rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in infants and children, resulting in deaths of about 600, 000 children and over two million hospitalizations worldwide every year. Recurrence of infections with different viral strains is possinble, and approximately all children have had a rotavirus infection by the time they are 5 years of age.