The Department of Health announced that its program on immunization will now include free immunization against pneumonia in children. It will be available in health centers as part of the DOH Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI).
â€œWe are introducing the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) to the Philippine vaccination program for infants,â€Health Secretary Enrique Ona disclosed.
According to the Philippines Health Statistics of 2010, pneumonia ranks as the #2 leading cause of infant mortality in 2010 which accounts for 2,628 deaths.
â€œPneumonia can cost up to P23, 500 for hospitalization, including professional fee, consultation, laboratory tests and medication,â€ the health chief said. The vaccine costs P2, 050.00 per full vaccination (3 doses of the PCV) per child.
ARMM and CARAGA, will be the first recipients of the PCV. Additional regions will be included every year for administration of pneumococcal vaccines until 100% of the regions are covered.
Regions, ARMM and CARAGA, ranked #13 among the regions with high number of pneumonia cases.
CARAGA was chosen for initial PCV implementation to complement the Rotavirus vaccination that started in July 2012. Same region was selected as the site for the impact study on the rotavirus vaccination which will end on 2014.
The vaccine will be given to 333,000 infants aged between six (6) months to 11 months old residing in the provinces and cities of CARAGA and the Autonomous Regions for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). These infants represent the 14% of the 2.4 million target infants nationwide.
â€œThis is part of our goal to achieve better health outcomes and meet our health-related Millennium Development Goals by strengthening existing public health programs, such as expanding immunization interventions,â€ Ona concluded.
The DOH Expanded Program on Immunization provides FREE vaccines that protect infants and children from the common vaccine preventable diseases. Vaccines include BCG for childhood tuberculosis, rotavirus vaccine, measles-mumps-rubella vaccines (MMR), polio vaccine, and pentavalent vaccine which is a combination of Diphtheria-Pertusis-Tetanus-Hepatitis B-Haemophilus influenza vaccines.