A baby gets vaccinated (Photo: ShutterStock)
A 10-week-old baby from Jerusalem died of whooping cough after not being vaccinated, the Health Ministry announced Monday. According to the Ministry of Health's announcement, starting in February, "cases of whooping cough morbidity among infants and toddlers have been reported, the number is on the rise. We are currently experiencing a whooping cough outbreak in the Jerusalem District." An epidemiological investigation revealed that the baby's mother was also not vaccinated during pregnancy, contrary to doctors' recommendations. The Ministry of Health announced that all contacts of the baby with other people had been examined and preventive treatment had been provided.
According to the ministry's announcement, 215 cases of whooping cough have been reported in Israel, of which 183 are in the Jerusalem District. "The vast majority of patients in the Jerusalem district are concentrated in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Beitar Illit, including an ultra-Orthodox population characterized by procrastination and low vaccination coverage." According to the announcement, out of 183 whooping cough patients, 82 are infants under the age of one year, most of them less than six months old. Most of the patients are babies who are not registered in Tipot Halav branches and have not been vaccinated against the disease.
What is pertussis?
pertussis is an infectious disease of the respiratory tract caused by the bacterium pertosis and is considered highly contagious and even violent. The disease attacks immunocompromised adults, especially children, and is characterized by fever, runny nose and persistent cough that does not pass. Whooping cough is especially dangerous in children under the age of one year, and about 1-2% of babies who contract the disease at this age die.
A pregnant woman gets vaccinated (Photo: ShutterStock)
Whooping cough vaccine
The pertussis vaccine given as part of a pentavalent vaccine is given at the age of two months, four months, six months and at the age of one year. It was then given in second grade and then eighth grade.
The Ministry of Health recommends that pregnant women be vaccinated between weeks 27-36. The vaccine is supposed to provide antibodies to both mother and fetus against the infectious disease, which claims the lives of an average of two babies in Israel every year.
Although the disease is considered dangerous and contagious, in areas where vaccination rates are high, it does not exist. When most of the population is vaccinated, a kind of environmental immunity is created, so that the bacterium is not present in the population. Vaccination is the most effective treatment against whooping cough, since the administration of antibiotics does not significantly change the course of the disease, so the main treatment is symptomatic for the purpose of relieving symptoms.
Decline in vaccination rates
"Since the end of the COVID-19 crisis, a decline in vaccination rates among adults and children has been observed around the world, and in the medical world there is already talk of the concept of vaccine fatigue" - vaccine fatigue, which indicates a decline in people's willingness to be vaccinated with the various routine vaccines. This is apparently due to the large number of coronavirus vaccines administered in recent years," said Tami Alkalai, head nurse at Maccabi Health Services.
"It is very important to continue to make sure to be vaccinated with all routine vaccines according to age and according to medical condition and not to give up any of them - this is the best way to preserve our health and that of our family and the health of the entire public."