Routine immunization for children in the Philippines

Learn about routine vaccines that children need and the diseases they prevent

UNICEF Philippines
A health worker administers a vaccine to a child being held by a mother at a health center
UNICEF Philippines/2019/Shehzad Noorani
28 April 2021

Vaccines protect children from life-threatening diseases, saving millions of lives each year.

For routine vaccines to be effective, children need to complete the required doses according to schedule from the time they are born until they are one year old. They also need to complete additional doses during supplementary or catch-up vaccination campaigns announced by the Department of Health.

Routine immunization coverage among children must be at least 95%. Routine vaccines are provided by the Government for free in public health centers and facilities.

 


Vaccine: BCG  
Protection from: Tuberculosis  
When to give: At birth  

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection that most often attacks the lungs. In infants and young children, it affects other organs like the brain. A severe case could cause serious complications or death.

TB is very difficult to treat when contracted, and treatment is lengthy and not always successful. According to the 2020 World Health Organization global TB report, the Philippines has the highest TB incidence rate in Asia, with 554 cases for every 100,000 Filipinos.

 

Vaccine: Hepatitis B 
Protection from: Hepatitis B 
When to give: At birth  

Hepatitis B virus is a dangerous liver infection that, when caught as an infant, often shows no symptoms for decades. It can develop into cirrhosis and liver cancer later in life. Children less than 6 years old who become infected with the hepatitis B virus are the most likely to develop chronic infections.

 

Vaccine: Pentavalent vaccine  
Protection from: Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Influenza B and Hepatitis B  
When to give: 6, 10 and 14 weeks  

Diphtheria infects the throat and tonsils, making it hard for children to breathe and swallow. Severe cases can cause heart, kidney and/or nerve damage.

Pertussis (whooping cough) causes coughing spells that can last for weeks. In some cases, it can lead to troubled breathing, pneumonia, and death.

Tetanus causes very painful muscle contractions. It can cause children’s neck and jaw muscles to lock (lockjaw), making it hard for them to open their mouth, swallow, breastfeed or breathe. Even with treatment, tetanus is often fatal.

Influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses which circulate in all parts of the world. Influenza can cause severe illness or death especially in people at high risk.

80–90% of infants infected with Hepatitis B during the first year of life most likely to develop chronic infections.

Routine vaccination schedule and checklist for the Philippines
Save this image on your phone or device to remind you of the routine immunization schedule for your child.

Vaccine: Oral Polio Vaccine  
When to give: 6, 10 and 14 weeks  
 
Vaccine: Inactivated polio vaccine  
When to give: 14 weeks  
 
Protection from: Poliovirus  

Polio is a virus that paralyzes 1 in 200 people who get infected. Among those cases, 5 to 10 per cent die when their breathing muscles are paralyzed. There is no cure for polio once the paralysis sets in.

 

Vaccine: PCV  
When to give: 6, 10 and 14 weeks  
Protection from: Pneumonia and Meningitis  

Pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis are a common cause of sickness and deathworldwide, especially among young children under 2 years old.

 

Vaccine: MMR  
When to give: 9 months and 1 year old  
Protection from: Measles, Mumps and Rubella  

Measles is a highly contagious disease with symptoms that include fever, runny nose, white spots in the back of the mouth and a rash. Serious cases can cause blindness, brain swelling and death.

Mumps can cause headache, malaise, fever, and swollen salivary glands. Complications can include meningitis, swollen testicles and deafness.

Rubella infection in children and adults is usually mild, but in pregnant women it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death or birth defects.

 


Safe vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic 

A UNICEF staff member assists a parent who brought her child to a health center to be vaccinated for polio.
UNICEF Philippines/2020

The Department of Health has identified routine immunization for children as an essential health service to prevent the spread and avoid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. The provision of routine vaccinations for children below one year old, including supplemental or catch-up vaccination for children, is maintained as long as the COVID-19 response measures will allow.

Routine and catch-up immunization activities must comply with COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures:

  • Health workers must practice hand hygiene between clients by handwashing with soap or using alcohol-based sanitizers for at least 20 seconds.
  • Health workers must wear a face mask, face shield and PPEs.
  • Parents and caregivers must wear a face mask and face shield when bringing their child to the health center or vaccination post in the barangay.
  • Vaccination must be performed in areas that are disinfected, well ventilated and spacious enough to allow people to maintain at least 1 meter of physical distancing.
  • Areas where vaccination is conducted must be separate from curative areas in the health facility where acutely sick patients are most likely to be present.

Because the COVID-19 situation is evolving and quarantine restrictions vary across the country at any given time, please check with your local government unit or health center for the latest announcements and guidelines for routine immunization in your area.

The Department of Health encourages private health facilities to continue providing routine immunization services with strict adherence to COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures.

 


Information on this page is as of 22 April 2021. This will be reviewed and updated with new information as necessary.

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Help protect more children in the Philippines from vaccine-preventable diseases

UNICEF works with the Department of Health to improve routine immunization coverage in the country, especially in remote and hard-to-reach areas. Today, around 6 million Filipino children under five years old still need immunization against polio and measles-rubella, diseases that may cause lifelong disability or death.

You can help protect children and ensure that every Filipino child can enjoy their right to good health by donating to UNICEF. Every donation helps us reach more children in the most disadvantaged and remote communities with life-saving vaccines.

Donate now at donate.unicef.ph