Philippines Deploys Pentavalent Vaccine Against Pertussis Outbreak

Pentavalent vaccine protects people from Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Hemophilus influenza type B
Whooping cough
by Carina Chen
Manila (Precision Vaccinations News)

The Department of Health (DOH) in the Republic of the Philippines has taken action to address the Pertussis outbreak.

Data as of March 30, 2024, indicates that there have been 1,112 Pertussis (whooping cough) cases since the start of 2024, which is almost 34 times higher than during the same period in 2023.

The majority of these cases were found in unvaccinated children under the age of five.

On April 11, 2024, the DOH reassured the public that outbreak response immunization was underway—however, the national government's inventory is in short supply.

To prevent gaps while waiting for the new batch of 3 million pentavalent vaccines, Health Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa has ordered that other options, such as Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTP), be used.

"Also, pentavalent and TDaP vaccines are available for purchase in the private sector; there is no physical shortage."

"We may need assistance from our private sector partners," said Herbosa in a press release.

Furthermore, the DOH says the positive effects of increasing immunization efforts to stem the Pertussis outbreak may not be measurable until at least one month.

Pentavalent vaccines include protection against Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, and Hemophilus influenza type B. Infants as young as six weeks may already be given this vaccine for free at government health centers.

According to the DOH, pregnant women may ask about the Tdap vaccine, which protects their soon-to-be-born children against Pertussis.

Pertussis is caused by bacteria, either Bordetella pertussis, or Bordetella parapertussis.

Healthcare providers can prescribe a course of treatment that should start as early as possible. Depending on the antibiotic used and the age and condition of the patient, treatment may run from 4 to 14 days. 

As of April 12, 2024, the U.S. CDC has not issued a Travel Health Notice regarding the Philippines Pertussis outbreak.

The CDC suggests that international travelers speak with a travel vaccine advisor at least one month before visiting disease outbreak areas. Travel vaccines are offered at certified clinics and pharmacies in the U.S.

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