Vaccination: Protecting the Future of Filipino Children

Vaccination, or immunization, is an essential part of global public health. The World Health Organization defines it as the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease by the administration of a vaccine.

It’s a cost-effective health investment and accessible to hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations through the government’s Philippine National Immunization Program. The Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act of 2011 states that basic immunizations covered by the act should be given for free by any government hospital or health center to infants and children up to five years of age.

While some vaccines aren’t covered, they can still be found at local health centers and private healthcare facilities. It becomes the parent’s responsibility to bring their children to get immunized. Unfortunately, current events and controversies have created confusion among parents, which resulted in decreased confidence in vaccines.

It had a huge adverse impact towards society’s state of health as disease outbreaks like measles erupted in different regions of the country. According to the Epidemiology Bureau’s surveillance system, between January to April 2019, 29,810 measles cases were officially reported along with 401 deaths. It’s a heartbreaking number, so let us not deprive our children of their right to be vaccinated.

Vaccines are safe while fear endangers our future. The benefits of its use far outweigh the risk of side effects. Vaccinations give us long-lasting, if not permanent, protection against certain illnesses. I always tell my people that it’s never too late to bring your child to the nearest health facility to get their immunizations updated.

We don’t vaccinate just to protect our children, but also our grandchildren and their grandchildren. We shouldn’t anticipate the revenge of almost unknown diseases. Vaccinations are one of the best practices to eliminate the dangerous consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines save lives.

WORDS Jacqueline Doctor-Bernabe, MD, MMHoA, DPPS

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