PETALING JAYA: A Tetanus, Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis (TDAP) vaccine rollout for all pregnant women, including non-citizens, is being planned for implementation in 2024, says the Health Ministry.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said this was to reduce the risk of Pertussis or whooping cough infections.
She said the newly introduced initiative will involve a yearly allocation of as much as RM25 mil, covering some 500,000 pregnant women nationwide each year.
“The Health Ministry is currently making detailed plans to implement the provision of the TDAP vaccines to expectant mothers nationwide.
“Once implemented, all pregnant women, including non-citizens, will be given one dose of the TDAP vaccine in their second or third trimester or the pregnancy phase of between 13 to 26 weeks.
“The vaccines will be given for free at all Health Ministry primary care facilities nationwide,” she said in a statement Monday (Aug 28).
Dr Zaliha said the initiative is expected to begin in 2024, once TDAP vaccine procurement is completed, with ready stock at Health Ministry facilities nationwide.
“More information will be released from time to time,” she added.
She said babies below five months old were the most at risk of contracting Pertussis and experience complications such as pneumonia, encephalopathy and death.
“This is because a babies’ antibodies will only reach proper immunity levels once they receive the three Pertussis vaccine doses under the National Vaccination Programme,” she said.
She added that some 343 Pertussis cases and 24 deaths were reported as of Aug 23 this year.
Of the 343 reported Pertussis cases, 173 (50.4%) comprised babies under the age of five months.
A total of 19 of the 24 reported deaths comprised babies under five-months-old.
Dr Zaliha added that vaccinating pregnant women with the TDAP vaccines also protected the unborn baby up until their birth, and completion of their three primary Pertussis vaccinations.
“This is through the mother’s antibodies being transferred to the baby in the womb,” she added.
Recently, The Star reported health experts saying vaccination was the best means to prevent Pertussis infections.
They said vaccination, in tandem with practicing good hygiene, are important to keep the disease under control.
Immunise4Life programme technical committee chairman and consultant pediatrician Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail also called for the vaccines to be provided especially to undocumented children and individuals in Sabah to allow the country to have better control over the spread of Pertussis.
Source: TheStar | 28 August 2023