Free immunization by DOH for kindergarten to Grade 7 students

Free immunization by DOH for kindergarten to Grade 7 students

By Kristelle Bechayda

The Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging parents to protect their children from vaccine-preventable diseases by availing the free immunization services provided by the government.

Called as the school-based immunization (SBI) program, it aims to vaccinate more than nine million students from kindergarten to Grade 7 around country. They are expected to receive measles-containing vaccine (MCV), Human Papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) or booster shots of Tetanus-diptheria.

“There is no reason not to get your children [vaccinated],,,because the vaccine which the government offers is safe, quality and free,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during their SBI program in Valenzuela City last Tuesday.

Before students can receive their vaccinations, Duque added that they need to have their parents’ consent as part of the vaccination protocol.

Parents still trust vaccines

The immunization program conducted at the Apolonia Rafael Elementary School in Valenzuela was the second stop of of the SBI campaign, which also aims to win back the trust of parents to vaccine after the recent Dengvaxia scare.

When asked, some parents who allowed their children to be vaccinated shared that they still have trust in vaccines.

“I have not lost my trust in vaccines. It is for the health and safety of my child,” said Crisela Pelongo. “But I’m afraid of Dengvaxia. So I told myself that if it is Dengvaxia that will be given, I will not allow my child to be vaccinated.

Another mom, Racqual Ortega, added that she allowed her two children to be vaccinated to ‘maintain their good health.’

“I have nothing against vaccines because it is my kids’ protection against viruses,” she said.

Duque also shared that legislators are already considering the ‘possibility of making vaccination program mandatory’ but added it still has a lot of implications.

“It needs a comprehensive research,” he said. “It needs to have a clear basis if it has to be mandatory.”