HA NOI — The Ministry of Health initiated an immunisation week today as part of its efforts to raise awareness about the importance of vaccinations in preventing contagious diseases.
"During the immunisation week, we will campaign to protect children from diseases, starting from the very first days of their lives," said Director of the Expanded Programme for Immunisation (EPI) Nguyen Tran Hien.
The week, organised by the World Health Organisation for the first time in Viet Nam last year, will also mobilise financial resources, political action and mass media involvement in support of immunisation programmes.
According to Hien, this year's programme will focus its activities on eliminating polio and tetanus and ensuring a nationwide vaccination rate of above 90 per cent for eight dangerous diseases among children under one year of age. The measles infection rate would be reduced to less than 0.8 per 100,000 people while the diphtheria infection rate would drop below 0.01 per 100,000 people, he said.
Started in 1985, the EPI has provided free vaccines against 11 contagious diseases to millions of women and children under five. The vaccination rate for children under five against Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, measles, wild polio, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and pneumonia has reached 90 per cent coverage in recent years.
Viet Nam eliminated wild polio in 2000 and tetanus in 2005. Measles is expected to be eliminated in Viet Nam by end of this year. — VNS