Pertussis Vaccines: DOH Expecting Shortage On Whooping Cough Vaccines

Department of Health (DOH) Anticipates A Shortfall In Pertussis Vaccines

PERTUSSIS VACCINES – The Department of Health (DOH) is expecting a shortage in pertussis vaccines.

The Department of Health (DOH) anticipates a shortage of pertussis or whooping cough vaccines next month and plans to order additional doses to address the shortfall. Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa stated that while they currently have enough vaccines, a shortage is expected in May, prompting the decision to order more of the existing vaccines.

“We have enough (vaccines), but we will have a shortage sometime in May. This is a gap we are addressing now, that is why we plan to order the old vaccines,” Herbosa said yesterday.

Photo Source: CIDRAP

This refers specifically to the DPT vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. He said, “When you order the vaccine, that’s only the time that they (pharmaceutical company) will manufacture it and you also have to consider the lag time.”

Herbosa explained that the lag time between placing an order and manufacturing the vaccine necessitates proactive planning.

Photo Source: Dr. Weil

Earlier this year, the DOH ordered pertussis vaccines, but it will take approximately four months for them to arrive, leaving the supply vulnerable to depletion. With an increase in pertussis cases, reaching 890 from January to March, and 49 related deaths, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged local government units to assist in catch-up vaccinations.

Notably, children under five accounted for 79 percent of the cases, with 66 percent of them either unvaccinated or with unknown vaccination history. The DOH expects the arrival of three million pentavalent vaccine doses soon, offering protection against various diseases including pertussis. However, with only 64,400 doses currently available, efforts are needed to bridge the immunization gap, especially considering disruptions caused by COVID-19 lockdowns.

Photo Source: The Scientist

Pertussis, caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria, poses a significant threat to infants and young children, with potentially severe symptoms and complications. While teens and adults may experience milder symptoms, there’s still a risk of severe illness, particularly for vulnerable populations such as those with pre-existing health conditions and the elderly who are unvaccinated.

Senator Gatchalian emphasized the importance of intensifying vaccination efforts to protect vulnerable groups, particularly children. He previously filed Senate Bill 941, aiming to establish a research and development institute focusing on virology, encompassing viruses and viral diseases across various organisms.

READ ALSO: Iloilo City Under State Of Calamity Due To Pertussis Outbreak

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