The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) have recently launched a TDaP vaccination campaign on their social media channels. The campaign aims to get students in years ten and 11 up to date with the vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (commonly known as “whooping cough”).
Why is this Important?
The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis to be serious illnesses that can be life-threatening. Tetanus bacteria can enter the body through cuts and wounds and affect the nervous system, leading the muscles around the body to spasm and tighten. On the other hand, diphtheria and pertussis bacteria are spread from person to person through coughs, sneezes, and close contact. Diphtheria can cause breathing problems and result in heart failure, paralysis, or death, and pertussis causes a severe, violent cough. This cough (which often has a characteristic “whoop” sound) can make breathing, eating, and drinking difficult. It is especially dangerous for babies and young children, as it can cause pneumonia, brain damage, or death. It can also lead to rib fractures, poor bladder control, fainting, and weight loss in older children and adults.
How Many Doses Are Needed?
The MOPH and HMC have stated that a complete vaccine series for these diseases is five doses for children under seven. According to the CDC, these doses are part of the routine childhood vaccines given between infancy and age six. Children in those age groups receive a slightly different vaccine called DTaP, which protects against the same diseases. After age seven, the MOPH and HMC recommend that children who have not received the complete DTaP series get three catch-up doses of TDaP to be fully vaccinated. After these, teenagers in Qatar will often get one TDaP dose.
As protection against these diseases does not last a lifetime, the CDC recommends that adults get a TDaP booster every ten years. If they get a severe or dirty wound or burn, that recommendation is dropped to five years.
Where Can You Get the Vaccine?
Routine childhood vaccinations are available through Primary Health Care Corporation health centres and HMC hospitals across Qatar. You can also choose to get vaccinated privately, but you will usually have to pay out of pocket or through insurance, and adults may also have to pay for their boosters in any circumstance.
To learn more about this vaccine or others, visit the MOPH website at moph.gov.qa, or call 4407-0000.