Just recently I asked my Facebook page followers what are their immunization / vaccine concerns on their kids.
Most of them said they are delaying the vaccinations due for their children because they are scared of going to the hospitals because of the pandemic.
This was not just an issue to my readers but a lot of Filipino parents which caused alarm on the Department of Health (DOH) .
This was our topic of discussion on the recent Kapihan sa Plaridel we did via Zoom Meeting with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination. They said vaccination rate in the Philippines is now at an all-time low because of the lockdown.
For this reason, the DOH and other medical experts are calling for continued immunization despite the quarantine explaining that the country could not afford an outbreak within a pandemic.
“Don’t be afraid because children must get immunized. They are at higher risk of getting measles, polio, pneumonia and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” according to Dr. Lulu Bravo said, Executive Director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination.
“Let us all be reminded that first, if children and other vulnerable sectors are not vaccinated, they can get sick and can die from these vaccine-preventable diseases,” she adds.
DOH National Immunization Program manager Dr. Maria Wilda Silva, shared that one of the vaccine-preventable diseases, pneumonia, remains the number one killer disease among children 5 years old and below. The tender for the child pneumococcal vaccine—between PCV 10 and PCV 13– is currently being reviewed by the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) for comparability and cost effectiveness.
How to get your kids vaccinated at the time Pandemic?
Dr. Silva and Dr. Bravo recommends parents to get in touch with their pediatricians via phone or online. Teleconsulting is one of the things medical practicitioners are doing right now. Some doctors even do live chat with Viber orw Zoom wirh their patients so they can assess the condition properly. Some also allow home visits on rare occasions. They said your doctors will be able to advise you on the safest way to get your kids immunization.
DOH also does baranggay visits with Free immunizations. Personally I’ve seen this free immunization for Polio at my condo recently.
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
Asked on the new evidence presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) saying that the two PCVs in the market are equally effective in protecting the children from pneumonia, Silva said: “When we did the cost effectiveness analysis, they are both cost effective. The price of PCV10 and PCV13, they fall on that range na cost effective sila pareho. But, of course, there is another benefit when we chose the PCV13 because it contains te three serotypes that are not found in PCV10 before. But now with the new evidence, this was now presented to National Immunization Committee and then it was brought up to the HTAC for further review and we are waiting for the review.”
The PCV tender is massive, which is even bigger than that of the controversial Dengvaxia procurement.
“Currently, there is only one available pneumococcal conjugate vaccine available in the market (PCV 13). It is a very expensive vaccine and its eating up more than 60% of the budget of the national immunization program. Mahal talaga pag isang produkto lang ang nasa merkado, ” Silva said.
The HTAC Review of the PCV vaccines is expected to be completed this June.