Anti-pneumonia vaccine: Important information for Pinoy parents

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Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children aged 1 to 5 all over the world. Read on to find out more about the vaccine that can protect your child against it.

Pneumonia is the leading cause of death of children aged 1 to 5 in the Philippines. Nearly a million children die around the world annually because of the disease. It’s a good thing that, aside from other health safety measures, there is now a vaccine that protects against it.

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or PCV as it is commonly called, protects infants and toddlers against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria, which has also been known to cause ear infections, meningitis, and septicimia (blood poisoning).

In 2013, the pneumococcal conjugate (anti-pneumonia) vaccine was initially made available for free in health centers nationwide by the Department of Health (DOH) as part of their Expanded Program on Immunization. However, many parents have lamented online that the supplies are limited. The DOH clarified that their priority recipients of the free vaccine “will be families listed in the National Housing and Targeting System (NHTS) for Poverty Reduction nationwide.”

How much is the PCV Vaccine?

“Pneumonia can cost up to P23, 500 for hospitalization, including professional fee, consultation, laboratory tests andmedication,” said the DOH, adding that the vaccine costs about P2,050.00 per full vaccination and that 3 doses of the PCV are recommended per child.

There are also two kinds of PCV. PCV 10 which, according to an Inquirer report, costs around P2,050 to P4,000, inclusive of the pediatrician’s professional fee. PCV 13 is a bit more pricey, at P3,545, or P5,500, inclusive of the pediatrician’s fee. According to research, PCV 13 prevented more deaths than PCV 10, back in 2014.

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When should my child get each dose of PCV?

As previously mentioned, each child is required to get 3 doses at around 6, 10, and 14 weeks of age. With each dose intentionally scheduled at least 4 weeks apart.  It’s still best to consult your pediatrician regarding the best schedule and brand of vaccine for your little one.

What about those who are not in poverty, but can’t afford the vaccine?

The complaints of parents who cannot afford the vaccine have not fallen on deaf ears. International Humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders have launched a campaign called A Fair Shot to raise awareness about how the PCV vaccine needs to be made more accessible to parents. They target their efforts to convince big pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices in order to give little ones a fair shot at life, by being given the opportunity to get a chance to grow into optimum health and well-being, which is, we can all agree, is the birthright of every child.

READ: The Pinoy parent’s guide to their child’s immunization schedule

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