• Mandatory immunization for children

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    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I am an expectant mother and I’m about to give birth in a few weeks. I was informed by my sister, who has a child already, that there is now a law requiring mandatory immunization for babies. Can you confirm if there is really such a law? If so, what is this law all about? Does it specify what kinds of disease are covered by the mandatory immunization? Thank you in advance for your advice! God bless and more power!
    Bea

    Dear Bea,
    It is true that there is now a law that provides for the mandatory basic immunization for all infants and children. This is Republic Act (RA) 10152, known as the Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act of 2011.

    This law was passed in accordance with the policy of the state, as provided for in the Constitution, to promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness by taking a proactive role in the preventive health care of infants and children through a comprehensive, mandatory and sustainable immunization program for vaccine-preventable diseases for all infants and children.

    RA 10152 requires that mandatory basic immunization shall be given for free at any government hospital or health center to infants and children up to five (5) years of age. (Sec. 3) This law also specifies the diseases that are covered with the mandatory basic immunization, to wit:

    “SEC. 3. Coverage.—The mandatory basic immunization for all infants and children provided under this Act shall cover the following vaccine-preventable diseases:

    (a) Tuberculosis;
    (b) Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis;
    (c) Poliomyelitis;
    (d) Measles;
    (e) Mumps;
    (f) Rubella or German measles;
    (g) Hepatitis-B;
    (h) H. Influenza type B (HIB); and
    (i) Such other types as may be determined by the Secretary of Health in a department circular.

    xxx”

    It is also important to note that this law obligates any physician, nurse, midwife, nursing aide or skilled birth attendant who delivers or assists in the delivery of a newborn prior to delivery to inform parents or legal guardian of the newborn of the availability, nature and benefits of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases at birth. (Sec. 5, Id.) This provision ensures that every parent shall be informed of his/her right to access the mandatory basic immunization for his/her babies.

    Considering the legal mandate for medical practitioners involved in pre-natal care to educate all pregnant mothers about the benefits of the mandatory basic immunization for infants and children, do not hesitate to contact and consult them through your local health centers for further professional medical advice.

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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