It took me 6 years to finally take advantage of the free vaccination services of the Barangay Health Center. With my third child, I have decided - and acted on it - to have him vaccinated at the center.
I grew up from a military family and my shots were all through the army hospital. So I had no idea what and how barangay health centers work. And when I gave birth to my first born, I went to the first person who offered vaccines: his pediatrician.
For years I got the vaccination services of pediatricians on my first two kids and they cost a lot - a huge amount. I didn't mind then because I was still working and it was more convenient for me to just visit the pedia at the hospital than go to a center. I was uninformed then, did not realize I could actually get some of those vaccines for free. And when I finally learned about it, the center won't accept Z anymore because she was almost complete already with her shots for the first year of life.
With Baby I, I was determined for him to get his shots at the center. A satellite health center was just a few minutes from our house and I don't mind waiting in queue because we can save thousands of pesos through this free program by the government.
Before Baby I turned one month, I visited the center to inquire. The center workers interviewed me asking where and when baby was born, where we lived, and the shots the baby already got, if any. Since Baby I already had his BCG and Hepatitis B shots at the hospital, I can bring him to the center for his first shots of Penta and oral polio. They told me to come back when baby is 6 weeks old. Also, the schedule of vaccination at the center is only during Mondays and Thursdays.
When we went back on his 6th week, the center was closed due to a barangay activity hence he got his first shot the following week.
It was crowded that day since the center was not able to provide vaccines from the previous week. There were no electric fans at the waiting area so it was a good thing I brought a fan with me.
Since we did not have any records yet, the workers just wrote down on a piece of paper baby's details and handed over his vaccination card. We then proceeded to the airconditioned room for his vaccine. The nurse wrote on his vaccination card and handed it back to us.
Baby I had fever that afternoon. Later on I found out from our pedia that shots from the center usually makes babies have fever as side effects. She was explaining the component of the vaccines which I did not understand fully, so please don't ask me what it was. Haha!
We went back to the center four weeks after his first shot. This time the crowd was manageable. We listed baby's name first on a piece of paper para nakapila na. Another worker looked for baby's record and apparently they lost it because they asked me questions again about baby.
We were then asked to enter an airconditioned room at the end of the hallway for registration. Our paper this time has an envelope and the worker wrote a unique ID number on baby's record. I was also asked for 20 pesos. They said it was for the photocopies they will need to perform on our records. Alam ko na raw, walang budget sila sa gobyerno minsan. I just shrugged and did not mind at all.
We then went to the vaccination room for his second shot of Penta and oral polio. Later that night he started to get warm and had a mild fever the next morning.
Third shot and onwards
We will go back for his third shot after four weeks. Afterwhich the next shot will be when baby turns 9 months old. So that approximately 6 months gap.
I understood that the health center has limited available vaccines and that eventually I would have to get those from our pedia. We still go to a pedia for his monthly check-up.
The pedia of baby at the hospital where he was born recommended that we take advantage of the free vaccines at the center and just go to the hospital for the other vaccines. Since the doctor's clinic was a bit too far from us, we changed pedia and took the services of my two older kids' current pedia.
Baby I's pedia is aware of his scheduled shots at the center. And we have worked on a schedule of baby's shots with her in the next months after his third shot.
Considering the amount I paid the doctors with the vaccines of my first 2 kids before, I have concluded that I saved around 4k with just the 2 shots from the center. Imagine that.
I hoped that our government can find ways to expand the vaccines available for all. It would save families a lot of money and more importantly, save lives.
Where did you have your kids vaccinated?