Local March 29, 2018 | 11:08 am

Mass vaccination against diphtheria

Diphtheria vaccination. Image from diariolibre.com

Santo Domingo.- The epidemiological alerts for suspected cases of diphtheria caused public concern and led large numbers of people to visit vaccination centers in public hospitals, health centers and private clinics over the past few days.

The presidents of the Dominican Medical College (CMD) Wilson Roa and the Dominican Infectology Association, Carmen Sarah Mota, said that the authorities needed to step up immunization programs in the most vulnerable areas, monitor arrivals and departures at airports, ports and border crossings and places where large crowds congregate during the Easter Week vacation such as beaches and other swimming areas.

“A patient with a high risk of diphtheria who is in a swimming area with a lot of people could be the point of contagion for many people, because it is transmitted by close contact,” said Mota.

Roa said that the panic provoked by diphtheria, an infectious-contagious disease caused by a bacterium that affects the respiratory tracts and shows general symptoms of fever and fatigue, is the result of inadequate health promotion and prevention work in the country, such as advising people to keep their vaccination schedules up to date.

Former CMD president Waldo Ariel Suero said that the authorities should call for calm and advise the public to act more rationally because at this rate vaccination stocks could run out quickly and ordering replacements takes time.

“The Ministry of Public Health should only be vaccinating the population at greatest risk,” said Suero, who is a pediatrician.

Dr. Noldis Naut, pediatrician and director of the Hugo Mendoza Pediatric Hospital, said that if children have received the doses at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months followed by a booster at the age of four, there was no need for them to be vaccinated.

Teenagers who were vaccinated ten years ago should be vaccinated, because boosters should be administered every 10 years in the shape of the pentavalent vaccine, which covers tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and influenza type B.

Since Monday, the authorities report having vaccinated 102,470 people for DT (Diphtheria and Whooping Cough) 21,450 for DPT (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Whooping Cough) and 11,825 with the pentavalent shot.

Comments are closed.