As cliché as it may sound, health really is wealth. But the sad thing is that no matter how much we take care of our health, we're still not 100% immune to diseases. We can still get sick, and we don’t know how sick we can get.
This is why it’s important to take extra measures to protect ourselves. Aside from living a healthy lifestyle and having a balanced diet, getting vaccinated should also be on top of the list.
Increase your protection from the get-go. In this Moneymax guide, learn how vaccines work against diseases and how much you’ll spend to get the necessary shots.
How Vaccines Work: A Brief Explainer
The World Health Organization explains vaccines as a simple and effective way to protect people from harmful diseases — even before they come in contact with them. It uses the body’s natural defenses to resist certain infections and strengthen the immune system.
Vaccines have the same germs that cause illnesses and diseases. For instance, measles vaccines contain the measles virus. But because traces of the virus have already been killed or weakened, they'll no longer make you sick. Some vaccines also contain only a part of the disease germ.
Through the introduction of the weakened type of viruses or germs to your body, your immune system will be able to recognize a specific virus should an active version of it attack you in the future. Your immune system will react to the vaccine by producing antibodies, which are proteins organically produced by your body to fight diseases.
Your immune system is designed to remember the germs or viruses that enter your body. When you’re exposed to the vaccine, you’re setting up defenses against certain diseases for a long time.
Today, there’s a wide range of vaccines available to protect ourselves from diseases like influenza (flu), rabies, chickenpox, pneumonia, measles, polio, and tetanus.
Are Vaccines Safe?
With the strong and credible presence of modern science and easy access to credible information, it’s surprising that a lot of people still don’t believe in the power of vaccines. Anti-vaxxers, or people who refuse to believe in vaccines, cling to ideas and unverified claims that aim to refute this scientific innovation.
So, are vaccines safe? The answer is yes. All vaccines undergo a series of clinical trials to prove that they’re safe for human use. Laws and certain provisions to safeguard human life and health have been rigorously studied and passed.
Contrary to the popular belief of anti-vaxxers, vaccines don't cause autism or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Reactions to vaccines are usually minor and temporary.
In addition, vaccines cannot become a source of the disease. This is because the virus or germ that a vaccine contains has been killed or rendered inactive.
There are a lot of myths surrounding vaccines. However, that’s for another conversation. If you want to get more in-depth information about the effects of vaccines, we recommend that you reach out to your local hospital or healthcare provider.
How Much Do Vaccines Cost in the Philippines?
Vaccines cost money. But it’s a small price to pay compared to, say, hospital bills or medications when you’re not protected from the negative effects of an otherwise preventable disease.
From an economic perspective, vaccinations can be an important investment. They can substantially improve the health of the population, which can easily translate to economic growth.
For this reason, the government initiated the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI). This program ensures that mothers and their infants and children have access to recommended vaccines against preventable diseases, such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, pertussis, and poliomyelitis.
Families can get these free vaccines in health centers in the Philippines. However, getting vaccines for other types of diseases may require you to visit private clinics and hospitals.
Vaccine Price List in the Philippines
Now, you may be wondering about the basic vaccine prices in the Philippines. Here's a price list that will give you an idea of how much each vaccine costs.
Note: These vaccine prices are just estimates, which may change based on the overall supply and demand.
1. Influenza or Flu
Vaccine price: PHP 600 to PHP 1,500
This vaccine protects you from the flu, a contagious disease with symptoms such as chills, fever, nasal congestion, cough, and body fatigue.
2. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Vaccine price: PHP 3,800 to PHP 8,700
This vaccine protects you from the virus that causes genital warts, cervical cancer, and even anal cancer.
3. Hepatitis B
Vaccine price: PHP 850 to PHP 1,600
This vaccine protects you from Hepatitis B infections, which have flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, rash, and jaundice.
4. Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis
Vaccine price: PHP 2,500 to PHP 3,000
This vaccine protects you from diphtheria, which causes sore throat, fever, body weakness, and swollen glands in the neck. It also protects you from pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Lastly, the anti-tetanus vaccine protects you from the effects of the tetanus bacterium, which causes muscle stiffness and spasms.
Vaccine price: PHP 3,200 to PHP 4,200
This vaccine protects you from chickenpox, which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The effects of chickenpox include small and itchy blisters, which are often accompanied by fever and tiredness.
6. MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
Vaccine price: PHP 1,300 to PHP 3,800
This vaccine protects your body from measles. Some symptoms include cough, runny nose, fever, and red eyes. The MMR vaccine also protects you from the mumps virus, which causes the salivary glands to swell, and the rubella virus, which has symptoms like swollen glands and rash.
Read more: The Costs of Measles Prevention and Treatment in the Philippines
Vaccine price: PHP 3,200 to PHP 3,500
This vaccine protects you from rotavirus, which causes diarrhea, vomiting, and severe acute gastroenteritis.
Vaccine price: PHP 3,500 to PHP 3,800
This vaccine protects you from Hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and influenza.
9. Varicella or Chickenpox
Vaccine price: PHP 3,200 to PHP 4,200
Varicella or chickenpox is an itchy rash that develops in children and adults. This rash usually comes with blisters, fever, headache, and tiredness. The varicella vaccine protects you from this disease and its complications such as skin infections, pneumonia, and even encephalitis or brain infections.
Again, these prices are subject to change, depending on the demand and on the healthcare provider. If you want to save money, you may check with your HMO whether routine immunization services are covered. But some providers may require members to shoulder vaccination costs.
When Should I Get Vaccinated?
Doctors and medical experts recommend that infants and children should all be vaccinated. Oftentimes, before leaving the birthing center or hospital, newborn babies receive their anti-Hepatitis B and other disease-fighting shots already.
Adults can get their shots anytime. But before getting vaccinated, always consult your doctor for recommendations, safety guidelines, and vaccination schedules.
If you're traveling abroad, you may also need to get a vaccine first before traveling to your destination.
Read more: Starting a Family? Consider These 10 Family Insurance Types
Where to Get Vaccines in the Philippines
Getting vaccinated these days is easier and more convenient than ever. You can get most of the recommended vaccines at your local health centers, private clinics, hospitals, and travel clinics. Barangay health centers may also offer immunization services for free.
COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
With the recent arrival of Sinovac and the AstraZeneca vaccines in the Philippines, the country's COVID-19 vaccination program is finally underway. The goal is to secure at least 148 million doses and vaccinate roughly 70 million Filipinos within 2021. Scientists recommend that to achieve herd immunity, at least 60% of the population must be inoculated.
Here's the latest update on each coronavirus vaccine.
- Vaccine price: PHP 366 for two doses
- Efficacy rate: About 89.3%
In the Philippines, the official distributor of Novavax vaccines is Faberco Life Sciences, Incorporated. Novavax has an efficacy rate of 96% on the original coronavirus and an efficacy rate of 86% on the new variants, according to Dr. Luningning Villa, Medical Director of Faberco Life Sciences, in a recent interview on CNN Philippines.
- Vaccine price: PHP 610 for two doses (administered 28 days apart)
- Efficacy rate: About 70%
The Philippines will receive up to 4.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. The first batch arrived on March 5, 2021 and was donated by several countries, including the UK, the European Union, Australia, France, and Sweden, to name a few.
- Vaccine price: PHP 1,220 for two doses
- Efficacy rate: About 91.4%
Preliminary findings show that Gamaleya’s Sputnik V is 91.6% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and 100% effective against severe and moderate cases. It’s also cheaper than the Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines.
4. Pfizer BioNTech
- Vaccine price: PHP 2,379 for two doses (administered 21 days apart)
- Efficacy rate: About 95%
The Pfizer vaccine supply will come from the Covax Facility by the latter half of 2021, according to Philippine vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
As for the Pfizer vaccine's side effects, the most commonly reported are pain at the injection site, muscle pains, fever, headache, and tiredness.
5. Sinovac Biotech
- Vaccine price: PHP 3,629.50 for two doses
- Efficacy rate: 50.38% to 91.25%, depending on the clinical trial
Aside from the initial 600,000 doses, the Philippines can expect to receive one million more doses of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine towards the end of March.
- Vaccine price: PHP 3,904 to PHP 4,504 for two doses (administered 28 days apart)
- Efficacy rate: About 95%
Twenty million doses of Moderna vaccines are expected to arrive as early as the third quarter of 2021, with additional supply slated for delivery in the fourth quarter.
7. Johnson & Johnson
- Vaccine price: $10 per dose (approximately PHP 487), 1 dose only
- Efficacy rate: 66% at global clinical trials, 72% in the U.S.
The Philippine government is also eyeing the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If all supply agreements are signed and all emergency use authorizations from the FDA are secured, the Philippines can roll it out to the public towards the latter part of 2021.
You can compare and read more about COVID-19 timelines, types, and prices, as well as their efficacy rates. Learn about which coronavirus vaccine is the most promising and which companies are making COVID-19 vaccines.
Disclaimer: As of writing, this COVID-19 vaccine price list in the Philippines is based on prices posted on different reputable online news sources. Vaccine prices may vary and still change. No exact prices have been released yet due to confidentiality agreements between vaccine manufacturers and the Philippine government.
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What You Should Do Before Getting Vaccinated
Read the vaccine-related materials that your doctor may give you prior to getting your shot. This way, you’ll know what to expect, which in turn will help reduce your anxiety or stress levels. Feel free to ask your doctor about the vaccine’s benefits and even potential risks or side effects.
You may have been vaccinated before, but you may still experience fear and anxiety at the sight of needles. So make mental preparations as well.
Breathing for relaxation is one practical technique that can help. Practice doing it a couple of times a week. With this technique, take long, slow, and deep breaths through your nose and then release them through your mouth.
It’s also important to discuss your vaccination-related anxieties with your doctor as they can provide you with other effective relaxation tips.
If your kids will be vaccinated, teach them the same relaxation techniques as well. Practice being calm and composed when your kids are scared or nervous.
Read more related articles:
- What is the Best Life Insurance in the Philippines?
- Best Health Insurance in the Philippines: Compare Now!
- 8 Things to Consider Before Buying a Life Insurance Policy
No one can completely avoid getting sick, but you can increase your fighting chance by having the vaccination. If you’re vaccinated, you also protect other people by not being a carrier of disease-causing germs and viruses. Remember that vaccines save lives!
-  Vaccines and immunization: What is vaccination? (World Health Organization, 2019)
-  Vaccines: The Basics (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
-  Vaccines: The Myths and Facts (American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology)
-  Novavax: Vaccine has 89.3% efficacy, works vs. new variants, (CNN Philippines, 2021)
-  PH receives 1st batch of AstraZeneca vaccines through COVAX, (Philippine News Agency, 2021)
-  As show of confidence, Russia willing to be liable for potential risks of Sputnik V in PH (CNN Philippines, February 2021)
-  Galvez eyes Pfizer vaccine delivery to PH by 2nd quarter of 2021 (Rappler, 2021)
-  1M Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses to be delivered ‘March 21 onwards’ – Galvez (CNN Philippines, 2021)
-  PH signs deals for 20 million Moderna, 5 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines (Rappler, 2021)
-  Comparing COVID-19 Vaccines: Timelines, Types and Prices (Biospace, 2021)