Medical Perspectives | Others

July 30, 2021

While visits to the doctor for immunization shots are as regular as clockwork for young children, it is not so for adolescents. When the teen years set in, the zeal and commitment to regular check-ups and doctor visits may not be as easy to maintain or manage. More often than not, school work and extra-curricular activities are given more importance than a visit to the family doctor. Besides, many young children grow up with an aversion to vaccinations, from remembered pains and possibly some other negative experiences related to vaccinations. Then there is the notion that teenagers are immune from sickness.


Even during adolescence, vaccination needs to be followed as scheduled. For older children who might have missed their schedules, CATCH-UP VACCINATION comes in, as it is intended to protect the recipient from disease as fast a possible, by “completing a person’s recommended vaccination schedule in the shortest but most effective time frame”.1 To check on whether preteens and teenagers are complete or up-to-date with the proper vaccinations, the doctor is the best person to determine what immunizations have been given and are still warranted at the time of visit.


Among the recommended vaccines for adolescents are those for diptheria, flu, HPV, meningitis, tetanus and pertussis. The catch-up vaccines that they may need, depending on their immunization record, include chickenpox vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine, measles vaccination, mumps vaccination, polio vaccine and rubella vaccination.2


The Philippine Foundation for Vaccination provides an annual schedule of recommended immunizations for children and adolescents, which lists 13 vaccinations that Filipino children need from age zero to 18 years.3 The annual schedule is a collaboration of the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP), together with the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination (PFV).4 Previously, the Department of Health released a recommended schedule of adolescent immunization as part of their Department Memorandum No 2013-0168, defining vaccination priorities for teenagers.5 The Philippines usually patterns immunization guidelines as released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are usually a collaboration of various societies such as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Public Health Service, the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Disease, and the American Academy of Family Practice.6

To facilitate determining the catch up immunization needs, it is best to provide the medical and vaccination history of the adolescent. Baby books and vaccine records will also come in handy.

Vaccination is not just for young children. The adolescents who are also at risk deserve optimal protection from vaccine preventable diseases

[i] Australian Government Department of Health. [n.d.]. Catch-up vaccination. Retrieved from

[ii] [2015, February]. Vaccines for Preteens and Teens. Retrieved from

[iii] [2019]. Vaccination Schedules. Retrieved from

[iv] [2019, February]. Philippine childhood immunization schedule for 2019 released. Retrieved from

[v] Department of Health. [2013, May]. Guidelines in the Implementation of School-Based Immunization. Retrieved from

[vi] Cabison-Carlos, L. [n.d.] Teens and Their Shots. Retrieved from

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