Friday, April 18, 2014

Status of Pentaxim shortage - when is it likely to become available in India ?

There have been a lot of queries about the lack of availability of Pentaxim (or any other acellular pertussis vaccine) in India for the last few months.
The good news is that as per the company representatives, the next batch has landed in India and gone for mandatory testing (to Central Research Institute, Kasauli) prior to sale in the Indian market.
The bad news is that it will still take at least till april 2014 end to reach the market, and the initial supply will be very limited. It is likely that another batch will become available somewhere in mid May which will lead to streamlined supply of the vaccine. As stated earlier, I continue to suggest that unless your child had a bad reaction to a previous DTwP (seizures, unexplained crying for many hours continuously, huge swelling etc.) I would recommend going ahead with the normal DTwP at present for the primary immunization (less than 6 months age). For kids getting a booster at 1.5 years, it is a matter of personal choice, and waiting for a couple of weeks may be appropriate if the parents want to take the acellular less painful DTaP vaccine. 
Please remember, the painless vaccine is ONLY better in terms of lesser local side-effects, it is NOT more effective. If anything, recent research suggests that the earlier DTwP may be in fact more effective in preventing pertussis (whooping cough = kaali khaansi).

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