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No case of whooping cough among adolescent in 10 years

No case of whooping cough among adolescent in 10 years


CATHERINE W GICHUKI
DOHA
Qatar has not registered any case of pertussis (whooping cough) among adolescents for the last 10 years, according to Ministry of Public Health official.
MoPH Director of Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control Dr Hamad Eid al Rumaihi stated this while speaking to the media on Thursday, adding however, that there were two cases of children aged one and two months who had a history of travelling last year.
To maintain no cases of pertussis status, MOPH, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), will from Sunday hold the annual routine Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) vaccination for students in grade 10.
The campaign will continue until March 16, 2017 with an aim to immunise 8,000 students.
Rumaihi said,"Our aim is to keep Qatar safe from infectious diseases. In the past ten years, we haven't registered any case of Pertussis among adolescents. We only had two cases among children below one year who might have contacted it from outside Qatar. Our aim is to sustain a strong national immunisation programme for children and keep them safe from infections."
He said that Qatar's vaccination programme is considered as the leading in the region as per World Health Organisation acknowledgement.
On her part, Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control Head of Vaccination Unit Dr Soha al Bayat said the two cases of pertussis last year involved Qatari and Iranian children aged two months and one month respectively and both had a history of travel.
"Both the children at that time were even below the first dose of the vaccine which put them at risk," she said.
She said that the TdaP vaccine is a combined dose that gives protection against three diseases - tetanus, diphtheria and pertuassis.
"I am glad to say that, for many years, we haven't had a single case of tetanus and diphtheria but that will not stop us from boosting children's immunity and protecting them further," she said, adding that the TdaP vaccine provides immunity for 10 years.
Dr Bayat said the dose has to be taken after every ten years though some European countries recommend that it should be administered after every five years for people above 60 years old.
Talking about how the vaccination will be administered in schools, Bayat said that doctors and nurses from the MoPH will vaccinate students at private schools while doctors and nurses from the PHCC will go to government school.
"There will no be vaccinations elsewhere except in schools. Therefore, we encourage parents to have their children get the vaccine at school," she said
According to her, the MoPH has already sent consent forms to parents and without their consent we will not vaccinate the children.
Allaying fears about the side effects of the vaccine, she said,"Any vaccination will have mild symptoms, such as mild fever, body weakness and pain on injection site but it doesn't last long. These are just minor side effects compared to the benefits of the vaccine."

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