MOH Introduces Tdap Vaccination Programme For Pregnant Women

The free Tdap vaccine will be available to all pregnant women during their second or third trimester at MOH health facilities. The rollout of the programme is expected in 2024.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 28 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) today announced plans to provide the tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccine to all pregnant women to lower pertussis infection risks for babies under five months old.

The Tdap vaccine, administered during pregnancy, will grant vital immunity to infants from conception until birth, effectively delivering the necessary three primary pertussis vaccine doses by the age of five months through maternal antibodies transfer.

The programme, with an annual RM25 million budget, aims to cover 500,000 pregnant women each year.

“The MOH is currently working on a detailed plan to administer the combined tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccine to all pregnant women across the country.

“When this takes effect, all pregnant women, including non-citizens, will be provided with a single dose of the Tdap vaccine for free during their second or third trimester (between 13 to 36 weeks) at the MOH’s primary health facilities nationwide,” Dr Zaliha said in a statement.

The initiative is set to commence in 2024, depending on vaccine’s availability at MOH health facilities across the country. The MOH will provide updates from time to time.

As of August 23, 2023, Malaysia has recorded 343 pertussis cases, with 24 deaths this year. Among the reported cases, 173 (50.4 per cent) cases were infants under five months old, while 19 of the 24 deaths occurred within this vulnerable age group.

CodeBlue previously reported that cases of vaccine-preventable childhood diseases, including pertussis (whooping cough) and diphtheria, jumped in Malaysia last year post-Covid pandemic. 

According to data published last July by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef on global childhood immunisation recovery after historic backsliding caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, pertussis cases in Malaysia leapt 818 per cent last year to 101 cases from the 11 cases recorded in 2021.

Diphtheria also saw a significant jump in numbers from five cases in 2021 to nine cases in 2022, marking an 80 per cent rise.

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