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Expanded Program on Immunization: What Diseases Can I Protect My Child From?

Expanded Program on Immunization: What Diseases Can I Protect My Child From?

Vaccines – while parents understand that they are crucial to prevent dangerous infections in kids, many still have lingering questions about them. When should my child get a particular vaccine? What if they missed a dose… do they start over? In this article, we’ll talk about the vaccines under the Expanded Program on Immunization.

Vaccination Checklist for Kids: A Parent’s Guide

The Expanded Program on Immunization, an overview

The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) is a national strategy to ensure that mothers, infants, and children have access to recommended vaccines.

EPI is not a new program; in fact, it started in 1976 and initially only included vaccines to prevent diphtheria, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, tetanus, measles, and pertussis. Now, the program has grown into so much more, and it continues to save tens of thousands of lives in the Philippines every year.

Below, we’re listing down the vaccines your child needs, when they should receive them, and some facts you must know about them.

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)

A baby usually receives a single dose of the BCG vaccine after birth. Named after the doctors who discovered it, Albert Calmette and Camille Guérin, this vaccine helps protect your child from tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection primarily affecting the lungs, but may also affect other parts of the body. Studies show that one shot of BCG may offer extrapulmonary protection for up to 15 years.

Hepatitis B

Under the Expanded Program on Immunization, a child will receive four doses of Hepatitis B vaccine. One right after birth along with BCG, and the other three within the Pentavalent vaccine shots, which we will discuss in the next section.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection primarily affecting the liver. One can develop it when contaminated bodily fluids (such as blood and semen) enters the body.

Please note that Hepa-B infection increases the person’s risk of developing liver cancer, making the vaccine even more important.

expanded program on immunization

Pentavalent

From the name itself, the Pentavalent vaccine may be able to protect your child from 5 diseases, namely:

  • Diphtheria: a severe bacterial infection that can lead to respiratory problems, heart failure, paralysis, and even death.
  • Pertussis: a contagious respiratory disease known as whooping cough.
  • Tetanus: a serious bacterial infection that can cause painful muscle contractions, and even worse, paralysis.
  • Hepatitis B: the pentavalent vaccine also contains the 2nd to 4th doses for Hepatitis B vaccine.
  • Influenza B: finally, it also contains the HIB vaccine that can protect your child from influenza type b infections which may result in ear infections, pneumonia, and cellulitis.

A baby receives the Pentavalent vaccine thrice, at 6 weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks. Another dose may be given when the child is anywhere from 12 to 18 months old.

Important: Please note that the immunization schedule may change depending on what the doctor finds out about your child’s condition and health needs.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)

PCV helps protect your child against possibly fatal pneumococcal infections, such as pneumonia and meningitis. Moreover, PCV may also offer protection against pneumococcal-related ear infections, sinus infections, and bacteremia (blood infection).

Under the Expanded Program on Immunization, a child receives PCV along with the pentavalent vaccine. Another dose may follow when the child is anywhere from 12 to 15 months old.

Oral polio vaccine (OPV) and the inactivated polio vaccine

OPV and IPV protect a child against poliomyelitis, a potentially-debilitating viral infection.

OPV is given along with the pentavalent and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines. Among all the vaccines, this one is perhaps the easiest to give because your baby just needs a few drops to be vaccinated.

IPV requires an injection. Children may receive it at 14 weeks along with the Pentavalent Vaccine to make a Hexavalent (6-in-1) Vaccine.

expanded program on immunization

MMR

MMR vaccine protects your child from:

  • Mumps: also known as beke; it’s a viral infection affecting the salivary glands; it can lead to various complications like inflammation of the ovaries, testes, pancreas, and brain.
  • Measles: also called tigdas; it is a highly contagious viral infection that not only causes fever and rash but can also result in complications like ear infection, diarrhea, and conjunctivitis.
  • Rubella: this is another contagious viral infection that causes rashes, fever, and most prominently, enlargement and tenderness at the back of the neck.

Under the DOH immunization schedule, children receive it twice: once when they turn nine months old and the next in their 12th month.

Reminders

Please note that the above mentioned vaccines are included in the DOH Expanded Program on Immunization for children 0 -12 months old. However, the Philippine Pediatrics Society, along with the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines, recommends additional vaccines.

Children may receive these vaccines before they turn a year old, or after – early or late in their childhood:

  • Rotavirus, which protects children from a virus causing diarrheal diseases such as gastroenteritis.
  • JE vaccine, which offers protection from Japanese Encephalitis
  • Hepatitis A vaccine
  • Varicella vaccine, which helps protect them from chickenpox
  • HPV vaccine, which protects from human papillomavirus infection (a risk factor for cervical cancer)

In most cases, if your child misses a dose, you don’t need to start over. Talk to your doctor about the vaccines your child currently has.

Finally, remember that immunization routine may vary depending on the child’s condition or the vaccine used. The best thing to do is to bring your child to a doctor. They will be able to assign the appropriate vaccines for them and set an immunization schedule.

Keep track of your child’s immunization schedule with our vaccination tool!

 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI)
http://caro.doh.gov.ph/expanded-program-on-immunization/#:~:text=The%20Expanded%20Program%20on%20Immunization,%2C%20tetanus%2C%20pertussis%20and%20measles.
Accessed January 20, 2021

Expanded Programme on Immunization — Philippines
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12159118/
Accessed January 20, 2021

https://thepafp.org/website/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2019-Childhood-immunization-Schedule.pdf
Accessed January 20, 2021

Q and A on Vaccination
https://pps.org.ph/infobox-on-vaccines/
Accessed January 20, 2021

2020 Recommended Vaccinations for Infants and Children (birth through 6 years) Parent-Friendly Version
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child-easyread.html
Accessed January 20, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Mar 09
Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS
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