For quite some time now, debates about whether or not it is safe to have our children vaccinated have divided the parenting community.
Anti-vaxxers have recently come forward with supposed evidence linking vaccines to complications in children’s growth and development.
Meanwhile, medical experts have stood by their scientific research and findings that vaccines are indeed effective in protecting them against infectious diseases.
Your Call as a Parent
Every parent wants to keep his or her child protected, especially against serious, sometimes deadly diseases. We always can’t keep an eye on what our children might get from the environment.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), twenty-seven out of 1,000 Filipino children do not get past their fifth birthday and the leading cause of children’s death under 5 years old are mostly infectious diseases, which include pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria- diseases that can be prevented through proper nutrition, care, and vaccination. (Read More: Under-5 mortality rate)
Immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) is recommended for your child, especially on the first 1000 days of life. This is to keep them protected against infectious diseases that may harm them.
Vaccines use weakened germs to keep your child’s natural immune response working and provide long-term protection against the disease the vaccine is made for. It is like preparing the immune system of your child for “real” diseases.
The Fatal Consequence of Delaying your Choice
A number of parents right now are choosing to delay their routine immunization schedule due to the threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). But, is there really no other choice?
According to an online press briefing by Dr. Maria Wilda Silva, the Department of Health (DOH) National Immunization Program observed that in May 2020, the rate of Filipino children getting their shots has slowly gone down.
It is an alarming rate as it hit an all-time low of seven percent in the first quarter of the year due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) brought about by the pandemic.
Prior to ECQ, vaccination rates were recorded to be at a 16 percent average immunization rate per quarter — a far cry from the ideal target of 23 to 24 percent per quarter, with a cumulative target of a 95 percent vaccination rate per year to achieve herd immunity.
In 2019, the country has already experienced a measles outbreak which the DOH traced to vaccine hesitancy or a delay or refusal in accepting recommended vaccination services despite availability.
If this rate will continue to downgrade in the coming months or years, we might be facing another disease outbreak and this is the first thing we want to prevent.
Don’t worry — the government and other associated agencies have kept the implementation of immunization services as one of their top priorities and all health care services are ready to observe proper infection control measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19. The Philippine Pediatric Society, Inc. (PPS) and Pediatric Infectious Disease Society Of The Philippines (PIDSP) also drafted guidelines on immunization during the COVID-19 pandemic. (READ MORE: About the Guidelines by PPS and PIDSP)
As parents, we should also be responsible when we bring our child outside for their vaccination schedule.
- Before scheduling for vaccination, ensure that your child is well
- If your child is suffering from fever, cough, colds, diarrhea, and influenza-like illness, seek help or advice from a doctor first.
- Make sure that your child has had no significant exposure to a positive or suspected COVID-19 case in the last 14 days
- Know if you and your child are residents in an area with localized transmission or local community under enhanced quarantine. Check DOH updates to confirm if the child’s community is classified as such.
- Take note of any contraindications or any reason to withhold the vaccination.
- Follow the recommended schedule and administration of vaccines included in the Childhood Immunization Schedule.
- Schedule ahead and assess the clinic’s condition and guidelines
It’s Now your Call
Pediatric vaccinations aren’t given in a one-time visit. Each shot is given on a different timeline usually throughout the first 24 months of your child’s life and even until they are 18 years old.
As a parent, you should be the first one to keep track of the vaccinations your child is getting. Some children may need a different schedule based on their health conditions, while others might have to catch up dosage from their previous.
With all these stages and difficult names, you don’t have to worry about remembering everything all by yourself. Your child’s pediatrician will guide you through the process.
Vaccination is part of keeping a child safe and healthy, but it might also be too complicated for us. That’s why it is okay to ask a lot of questions about vaccines, the vaccine schedule, or how to “catch up” especially if your child hasn’t gotten any shots since birth. But we should ask the right person about it – our pediatrician.
It is important for parents to consult pediatricians so they can make the best possible decisions for the health and well-being of their children. Go to the nearest clinic or talk to your doctor to know more about the schedule for your kid’s shot.