Health Reminder: Start Vaccination Early to Prevent Whooping Cough in Your Baby

Babies are being vaccinated by health professionals. / Abby

Parents of boys and girls born in mid-August should start vaccinations six weeks (one and a half months) later, as recommended by the Ministry of Health and Sports, through the Expanded Program on Immunization (PAI). Prevent whooping cough, or pertussis.

National PAI Director Claudia Carrizales stressed the importance of avoiding serious cases or premature death in children. In this sense, the Ministry of Health issued a directive to the Health Service (headquarters) to implement a shortened vaccination schedule.

Schedule cut short due to the current outbreak

The curtailed plan was implemented due to the current pertussis outbreak in the country, with more than 800 cases registered so far. Of these, 63 per cent were children under the age of five, and eight deaths were reported, including infants under four months old.

Carizales assured that the vaccine is safe and suitable for newborns of one and a half months old. Its main goal is to protect the smallest groups most vulnerable to these diseases.

Geographic distribution of the outbreak

The total cases are distributed across the provinces: 846 in Santa Cruz, 43 in Beni and 4 in Chuquisaka.

The pentavalent vaccine is named for its ability to simultaneously prevent five diseases including pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, pneumonia, meningitis and hepatitis B. The vaccine is available at all public health institutions across the country and is provided free of charge to the public.

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