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1 million pertussis vaccines to arrive in June – DOH

MANILA, Philippines — Around one million doses of pertussis vaccine are expected to arrive in the country by June, the Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday.

The DOH said the fresh supply of the pentavalent vaccine, which also provides protection to children against diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B, is seen to boost the government’s vaccination drive.

“More or less between 800,000 to one million doses,” DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Eric Tayag told a news forum at the Dapo Restaurant and Bar in Quezon City.

The DOH has given 1,500 doses to Quezon City after the city government declared an outbreak of pertussis.

Tayag said the doses are not enough, citing studies which showed that 1.9 to 2.1 million babies are born every year.

In the absence of vaccines, Tayag said antibiotics are available to cure patients.

As of March 9, the DOH has documented 167 confirmed cases nationwide with 35 deaths.

Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Visayas have recorded the highest number of cases.

Tayag said Iloilo City is also at risk for pertussis outbreak after it recorded 10 cases.

The lack of supply of vaccines is among the reasons why cases of pertussis in the country have increased, including in Quezon City wherein Mayor Joy Belmonte has declared an outbreak of the disease.

Tayag said some programs of the DOH were sacrificed during the COVID pandemic as the focus was to address the infectious disease.

He said the public vaccination rate dropped by 65 percent in 2018 due to reported deaths allegedly caused by a dengue vaccine.

Meanwhile, two cases of pertussis have been reported in San Jose del Monte and Meycauayan in Bulacan.

Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando ordered the provincial health office to determine if there are other cases and to identify children with incomplete vaccinations against pertussis.

A routine DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccine is given to children in three doses.

Fernando said the vaccination campaign at the border of Meycauayan and San Jose Del Monte and neighboring areas should continue.