teddy bear with syringe and vaccine

Here’s How Vaccination Can Save Lives And Money

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is not merely the absence of a disease but a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. However, in order to achieve such state, our physiological needs must first be met – that’s according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. With that being said, our physical wellness, the first layer of our health, can make or break our overall wellness.

Today, while getting sick is still inevitable, safeguards from various illnesses are easily available, for free!  Part of the government’s health program is to fully immunize everyone from certain illnesses from a young age through vaccination.

In the Philippines, some vaccines are immediately given to a newborn, while a full series follows throughout childhood, in order to eliminate the common diseases that put children at risk. To date, illnesses such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis (polio), measles, mumps, rubella, and haemophilus influenzae type B infections are now completely avoidable through vaccination.

How can vaccine save…. money?

Vaccines are considered to be among the greatest human inventions of all time. They are directly responsible for the increased life expectancy we enjoy by preventing childhood death from diseases such as measles, pertussis, and diphtheria. The CDC estimates that, among children born in the last 20 years, vaccinations will prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths.

But beyond saving lives, this reduction in disease means a reduction in the cost of treating these illnesses. This translates into vaccines being not only lifesaving but money-saving as well.

How exactly do vaccines save money? When a child gets sick with a vaccine-preventable illness (as with any serious illness), he or she will need to seek treatment and this, of course, is going to cost. Now if the child gets a serious complication, he or she may need to be hospitalized, and in worse cases, treatment could drag on for weeks or months.

So there are hospital bills, medications, and doctor visits before, during, and after the illness. Tragically, if there are long-term complications, such as deafness from mumps or brain damage from measles, there will be costs associated with this as well (adaptive devices, special education requirements, etc.).

A general check-up with a pediatrician alone can cost around ₱500 to ₱1,000 per visit not including the medications prescribed. Meanwhile, hospitalization can cost at least ₱800 per day in a public hospital for a non-private room plus medicines which doesn’t come cheap!

If you want to eliminate or at least minimize the chances of your child getting sick, complete their vaccination. The less trips you make to the doctor, the less expenses it will impose on your pockets. While these vaccines may only prevent common illnesses, these illnesses can progress to more complicated diseases, which can be difficult and expensive to treat!

At what age should you immunize your child?

Different vaccines are given at different periods in a child’s life. Upon birth, they are immediately vaccinated against certain diseases, while some vaccinations are given at a later age. These vaccinations can last a lifetime and are given for free by the government through their Expanded Program on Immunization.

The standard routine immunization schedule for infants in the Philippines is adopted to provide maximum immunity against the seven vaccine preventable diseases in the country before the child’s first birthday. The fully immunized child must have completed BCG 1, DPT 1, DPT 2, DPT 3, OPV 1, OPV 2, OPV 3, HB 1, HB 2, HB 3 and measles vaccines before the child is 12 months of age.

The immunization schedules are as follows:

VaccineMinimum Age

at 1st Dose

of Doses
DoseMinimum Interval Between DosesRoute
Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)
The BCG is given at the earliest possible age to protect against the possibility of tuberculosis (TB) meningitis and other TB infections in which infants are prone to.
Birth or any time after birth1 dose0.05 mLNoneIntradermal
Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus Vaccine

An early start with DPT reduces the chance of severe pertussis.
6 weeks old3 doses0.5 mL6 weeks(DPT 1), 10 weeks (DPT 2), 14 weeks (DPT 3)Intramuscular
Oral Polio Vaccine

The extent of protection against polio is increased the earlier the OPV is given.
6 weeks old3 doses2-3 drops4 weeksOral
Hepatitis B Vaccine
An early start of Hepatitis B vaccine reduces the chance of being infected and becoming a carrier.Prevents liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, which are more likely to develop if infected with Hepatitis B early in life.10% of Filipinos have Hepatitis B infection, and about 9,000 died of complications of Hepatitis B.
At birth3 doses0.5 mL4 weeks intervalIntramuscular
Measles Vaccine
At least 85% of measles can be prevented by immunization at this age.
9 months old1 dose0.5 mLnoneSubcutaneous

Source: https://www.doh.gov.ph/expanded-program-on-immunization

Is vaccination safe?

Millions of vaccines are administered every year. These prevent many from suffering and save many of lives. Scientific studies have well established their effectiveness. Side effects such as fever and body malaise may be common, but complicated ones are relatively rare and usually mild in intensity, limited in duration and easy to treat.

Despite the recent fiasco that we’ve seen with the case of Dengvaxia, this does not negate the fact that all proven and tested vaccines are safe. The more common vaccines that are widely used today have gone through a complete test, and are formulated to mitigate the side-effects.  

Meanwhile, the infamous dengue vaccine was still on its testing stage upon its distribution to the public. It’s a completely different situation than those vaccines that have been saving lives all these years.

The pros of vaccinating far outweigh the cons.

How much does vaccination cost?

Getting vaccinated in the Philippines is quite affordable if not free, simply coordinate with your nearest barangay health center to make the most out of the government’s Expanded Immunization program.

However, if you prefer to get your child vaccinated by private practice physicians (pedia), you might have to spend a little more than what you would in a barangay health center.  

Below is a rough estimate of the cost of vaccines in private clinics:

BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) ₱1,400
Hep B₱1,400
DPT, OPV/IPV, H. Influenza ₱3,000
Measles ₱1,300
Varicella ₱3,600
Source: http://www.joycedelosreyes.com/2016/06/baby-immunizations-and-costs.html

By complying with the community’s efforts to implement vaccination, not only will you be ensuring the future of your family’s health (and wealth), but you’re also doing the public a favor by lessening the risk of cross infection. It’s important to remember that when a child gets sick and hospitalized, there are costs beyond simply treating the illness. The parents may have to take time off of work, incurring loss of income. There may be insurance co-payments to meet. If the child has long-term consequences from the illness, there may also be lost opportunities for income. And, if this child is inadvertently exposed to others, it might lead to a cascading public health crisis, causing daycares to shut down and public health agencies mandating quarantines.

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