Infobox on Vaccines

Parents' Corner

 

Q and A on Vaccination

Parents are concerned about the health and safety of their children and administering vaccines is one of the best ways to protect them against infections. Although vaccines are manufactured using disease-causing organisms, these viruses and bacteria are destroyed or weakened, allowing the immune system to defend the body against the disease while preventing or minimizing its symptoms.

1. Why are vaccines important?

Vaccines are important because they prevent certain childhood diseases, which are highly communicable and may lead to serious consequences both in children and in adults. Vaccines also play a role in reducing the risk of infections that are not common but are associated with severe life-threatening conditions and/or disabilities. Before vaccines became widely available, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent.

2. Won’t getting the disease provide better protection?

In most cases, being vaccinated provides the same quality of protection as getting the disease itself, with the advantage of avoiding the complications and risk of death.

There are some diseases like tetanus and diphtheria, which in spite of the child getting the infection, will not provide protection and thus, will still require vaccination.

Although vaccination will not guarantee 100% protection, vaccinated children, if they do develop the disease, are expected to have the milder form.

3. Who needs to be vaccinated?

Although most people consider vaccination as necessary in infants, it is equally important in children, adolescents, and adults. Other high-risk groups such as those who are immunocompromised or have chronic conditions like heart and lung diseases will also need to be given certain vaccines.

In certain situations, post-exposure vaccination is necessary. An example of this is rabies vaccine in a child bitten by a dog.

4. What happens if I can’t remember the vaccines that were given to my child and I’ve lost his baby book?

If your child’s vaccination record cannot be obtained, he should be given the missed vaccines depending on his present age and medical history. If you are worried that your child might be given more vaccines than needed, extra doses will not lead to adverse reactions. In fact, missed vaccinations are more dangerous since these may lead to low protection or no protection at all.

5. What are the recommended vaccines?

The following table lists the vaccines that are recommended for children and adolescents by the Philippine Pediatric Society and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines for the year 2020. Your doctor may also recommend other vaccines. Vaccines are given using different schedules, which you can discuss with your doctor.

 

VACCINE Number of Doses
BCG 1
Hepatitis B 3 or 4, depending on the schedule used
Diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) 5
Poliomyelitis 5
H. Influenzae Type B 4
Rotavirus 2 or 3
Pneumococcal 4
Influenza 2 doses initially (until 8 years old), then yearly thereafter
Measles 1
Japanese B encephalitis 2
Varicella/ Chickenpox 2
Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) 2
Hepatitis A 2
Human Papilloma Virus 2 or 3

Other vaccines may be recommended in special situations. Ask your pediatrician about these.

6. Should I expect any side effects after vaccination?

Side effects can occur with any medicine, including vaccines. In most cases, vaccines cause only mild side effects, if any, such as fever, rash or soreness at the injection site. Slight discomfort is normal and should not be a cause for alarm. Paracetamol may be given if your child develops fever while cold compress may be applied for the pain and swelling at the injection site.

Rarely, people experience more serious side effects like high fever or incessant crying. Signs of a serious allergic reaction when present, will often be observed within 30 minutes of the vaccination. These will include difficulty of breathing, hoarseness, rashes, paleness, weakness or dizziness. Inform your doctor immediately if you notice any severe signs and symptoms.

7. What does catch up immunization mean?

Catch up immunization refers to the giving of vaccines that were not given on the recommended immunization schedule, for whatever reason. When the child or adolescent is brought to the clinic, the parents should be informed of the need for continuation of immunization as well as the new recommendations and new vaccines.

8. My son who is 6 years old had his vaccinations in the health center during his 1st year of life. From that time on, he has not received a single vaccine. Will he still need vaccination? What are these vaccines?

Local health centers provide the basic (National Immunization Program-NIP) vaccines using government funding, during the first year of life. These include BCG, 2 doses of rotavirus, 3 doses of DPT, polio, H. influenza b (Hib), hepatitis B, pneumococcal conjugate, measles and MMR.

If these vaccines were given, your son will still need boosters for DPT, polio, Hib, hepatitis B, pneumococcal conjugate and 2nd dose of MMR and other vaccines to improve levels of protection.

Since there are recommended vaccines that will prevent many other diseases (such as chickenpox, pneumococcal, hepatitis A, influenza, to name a few), children who received NIP vaccines should be given the opportunity for protection against these diseases.

Your pediatrician can provide a schedule that best meets your child’s needs.

9. I have been told by our doctor that my teenage daughter still needs vaccination. What vaccines does she need?

Your daughter needs the following:

• Childhood vaccines, which she may have missed during that period (catch-up vaccines)
• Those whose protection will wane over time (such as diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus booster)
• Vaccines given yearly (such as flu vaccine)
• Vaccine against cervical cancer

10. Do all female children and adolescents need a vaccine against cervical cancer?

The anti-cervical cancer vaccine is intended to prevent infections with the types of human papilloma virus most commonly associated with genital warts and changes in the cervix which can lead to cervical cancer.

Even if there is no family history of this disease, these changes can develop once exposed to the virus.

Does my son need this as well?

Males can benefit from the vaccine in the prevention of genital warts.

11. My son is due for vaccination in a week’s time. However, my husband was symptomatic for COVID infection and tested positive last week. We are only 3 in our household. My son and I are asymptomatic and never had a swab test done. Can I continue my son’s vaccination next week or should it be re-scheduled?

If you and your child remain asymptomatic, vaccination of your baby may be re-scheduled after 2 weeks (quarantine period) from the last time you and your baby were exposed to your husband.

Vaccination visits should be postponed to avoid exposing healthcare personnel and other patients in the vaccination setting to SARS-CoV-2. When scheduling or confirming appointments for vaccination, notify your Pediatrician’s office in advance.