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DOH records 1,477 pertussis cases nationwide

April 17 ------ The Department of Health (DOH) announced that it has recorded a total of 1,477 pertussis cases nationwide from January 1 to April 6, resulting in 63 fatalities. 


In a statement, the DOH noted that these cases "continue to rise" steadily. Despite this, the DOH assured the public of its ongoing outbreak response immunization efforts, anticipating the arrival of three million pentavalent or 5-in-1 vaccine doses by June or sooner. Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa highlighted the importance of improving response processes. “Just like in the emergency room, the fast and focused pace of an outbreak response highlights areas for improvement so we can save lives better," Herbosa said. "We are looking at adopting processes like Framework Agreements for procurement so that we can buy the vaccines faster," he explained. Herbosa added that "this is the way forward, even as we exhaust all possible means now to get what we need.” 


As it awaits the arrival of three million pentavalent vaccine doses, the DOH is also securing Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus (DPT) doses to mitigate potential vaccine shortages by May. The DOH also noted that the private sector maintains stocks of pentavalent and TDaP vaccines in the Philippine market. Regions experiencing a sustained uptick in pertussis cases over the past six weeks include Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, and Bicol Region. 


Children under five years old represent the majority of pertussis cases at 76 percent, while adults aged 20 and above comprise only around four percent of cases. Cautious in interpreting trends, the DOH acknowledged the possibility of fluctuations in case numbers due to delayed consultations and reports. Moreover, it noted that the impact of intensified immunization efforts may not be immediately reflected in the data, with effects expected to manifest four to six weeks after implementation. 




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