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Vaccination for Children in the Philippines: Facts You Should Know

    Vaccination for Children in the Philippines: Facts You Should Know

    With the advances in medicine and technology, we have many effective ways to prevent disease. One of the best ways to prevent our children from getting severe diseases is by getting them vaccinated. Here is a quick guide on what you should learn about vaccination for children in the Philippines.

    Why Vaccination for Children Is Important

    Recently, an outbreak of measles was a cause of concern for many Filipinos. Even though measles is a preventable disease, there was an alarming number of 4,302 reported measles cases and 70 deaths. The reason? According to the Department of Health, vaccine hesitancy was to blame.

    Children are particularly susceptible to many infectious diseases since their immunity is still developing. In fact, most deaths from serious diseases such as polio occur with children — particularly unvaccinated children.

    Measles is just one of many diseases that can be prevented when a child gets vaccinated. And yet, parents were hesitant to give the vaccine to their children.

    Vaccine hesitancy often comes from a lack of finances to pay for shots; however vaccination for children in the Philippines is often free.

    Poverty may not be the only reason why Filipinos have vaccine hesitancy. For instance, the Dengvaxia controversy spread so much misinformation about vaccines that many Filipinos became overly concerned about the safety of all vaccines. Despite the fact that vaccines are safe and tested rigorously, only 32% of Filipinos in 2018 thought vaccines were important compared to 93% in 2015.

    The Risks of Not Vaccinating Children

    As mentioned earlier, children have a relatively weak immune system because it is still developing. Vaccination for children can prevent several infectious diseases, but they can do more than that. They can also prevent children from acquiring disabilities, and even prevent death.

    Recommended Vaccinations for Children

    An immunization schedule is available to help Filipino parents learn what vaccinations their children need and when they should get them.

    Doctors give certain vaccinations for children right after birth. Some are given in the succeeding months or first years of their life. Remember, it is always best to consult medical professionals for the ideal time to vaccinate your child.

    Some of the vaccinations require just one shot. However, some shots will require your child to get a booster shot. A booster shot is a succeeding dose of the vaccine that boosts the immune system further against specific diseases.

    The given DOH immunization schedule is made by the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines, and the Philippine Pediatric Society. These 13 EPI (Expanded Program on Immunization) vaccines aim to ensure that Filipino children will be as safe as possible from potential outbreaks, such as the recent measles outbreak.

    It is important to note that every child may have slightly different needs. If you have any concerns or questions about vaccination for children, especially if your child has other illnesses or conditions, consult your pediatrician.

    How You Can Prepare Your Child

    Having infants vaccinated can be simple since they are not afraid (or even aware) of needles. However, when kids are 2 years old and above, they may develop a fear or aversion to getting their shots.

    We suggest that you be honest about what will happen to your child before they get their shot. You want to avoid unnecessary trauma or trust issues, and being truthful is often the best course. Try to help them understand what vaccinations are and why they are important so they will be willing to get their shots.

    For instance, you can tell them they might feel a little pain from the injection. That pain goes away and is not permanent. Help them to understand that it is necessary to protect them from getting sick. For infants who cry after the injection, you may gently stroke them to help them with the pain and to calm them down.

    If your kid still feels nervous about getting the shot, try to give them something to look forward to. For instance, you can tell them that you can get ice cream after their shot. That way they will focus on what will happen after the vaccinations rather than the vaccinations itself.

    Where You Can Get Vaccination for Children

    Vaccination for children is available in most hospitals and clinics in the Philippines. If you already have a doctor or pediatrician, there is a good chance they can vaccinate your kids.

    To combat the drop in the number of vaccinated children in the Philippines, DOH is employing efforts to make it as easy as possible for children to get vaccinated. For instance, you can get free vaccination for your infant through their Expanded Program on Immunization readily available in local health centers. Additionally, students can get vaccinations for free in all public schools from DOH’s school-based immunization program.

    Key Takeaways

    Vaccinations are important for all children. A simple injection can prevent your child from catching many deadly and painful diseases.

    Learn more about Vaccines here.

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    Baby Vaccine Scheduler

    Use the immunization schedule to learn what vaccinations your child needs and when

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

    Sources

    DOH IDENTIFIES VACCINE HESITANCY AS ONE OF THE REASONS FOR MEASLES OUTBREAK, https://www.doh.gov.ph/node/16721, Accessed May 4, 2020

    Measles Vaccination, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/measles/index.html, Accessed May 4, 2020

    TIMELINE: The Dengvaxia controversy, https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2017/12/09/The-Dengvaxia-controversy.html, Accessed May 4, 2020

    Dramatic drop in public confidence after Philippines dengue vaccine controversy, https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2018/dramatic-drop-public-confidence-after-philippines-dengue-vaccine-controversy, Accessed May 4, 2020

    Making the Vaccine Decision: Addressing Common Concerns, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/why-vaccinate/vaccine-decision.html, Accessed May 4, 2020

    Philippine childhood immunization schedule for 2019 released,  https://www.philstar.com/lifestyle/health-and-family/2019/02/28/1897481/philippine-childhood-immunization-schedule-2019-released, Accessed May 4, 2020

    Expanded Program on Immunization, https://www.doh.gov.ph/expanded-program-on-immunization, Accessed May 4, 2020

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    Written by Ruby Fernandez Updated May 10
    Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD