DOH secures 3 million vaccines vs pertussis

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
DOH secures 3 million vaccines vs pertussis
DOH: Pertussis cases 20 times higher since January Parents avail of the pentavalent vaccine for their children and attend a small seminar on pertussis at a health center in Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City on March 22, 2024.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has secured around three million doses of vaccines against pertussis.

At a press briefing yesterday, DOH Secretary Ted Herbosa said the move aims to ensure a continuous supply of vaccines in May and June to address rising cases of pertussis in the country.

“We learned from the Serum Institute (of India) that they have three million doses of DPT so I had it ‘locked,’ ” Herbosa said, referring to the pentavalent vaccine against diptheria, pertussis and tetanus.

Early this year, the DOH ordered around six million doses of pentavalent vaccines, which are expected to arrive in July.

Herbosa said all pentavalent vaccines may be consumed before July unless parents delay the vaccination of their children.

“We are looking at an increasing trend (in pertussis cases) and we hope immunization will help bring down the number of cases,” he said.

DOH data showed that there were 1,112 pertussis cases nationwide from January to March 30. Only 32 cases were recorded during the same period last year.

Pertussis is an acute respiratory infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis.

The infection poses a threat particularly among infants and young children who are at risk for severe symptoms and life-threatening complications.

Teens and adults may experience milder symptoms, but there is a risk of severe illness, especially for those with pre-existing health conditions and unvaccinated elderly population.

Herbosa also warned the public of possible outbreak of other diseases covered by the pentavalent vaccine.

Aside from giving protection from pertussis, pentavalent vaccine covers diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B.

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