DA NANG (VNS)— Amid increasing concern over the quality of free vaccines, residents in the central city of Da Nang are rushing to medical centres for paid vaccinations, triggering massive shortages.
The city has run out of the chickenpox vaccine, the 6-in-1 Infanrix imported from Belgium [preventing diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, poliomyelitis (polio) and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)] and the 5-in-1 Pentaxim imported from France [preventing diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis and invasive infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B such as meningitis, septicaemia, cellulitis, arthritis, epiglottitis, pneumopathy and osteomyelitis]. New supplies will not arrive for one to two months, according to director of the city's Preventive Medicine Centre Ton That Thanh.
"In some provinces, children had reactions after being vaccinated with the 5-in-1 vaccine Quinvaxem. The news resulted in a decreased number of children being vaccinated at the city's medical centres," Thanh said. "But when measles and chicken pox suddenly broke out in big cities and provinces, parents were forced to rush to medical centres to vaccinate their kids. They prefer imported 6-in-1 (Infanrix) and 5-in-1 (Pentaxim), meaning there was too much demand for the supply."
As local people hesitated to bring their children to precinct and ward medical centres, demand for the VND600,000 vaccinations at the Preventive Medicine Centre spiked. Around 300 paid vaccinations of Infanrix and Pentaxim have been taking place per week, Thanh said, much more than usual. The centre also ran out of vaccines for measles, rubella and mumps imported from the Czech Republic, although these types of vaccines are still available under the national open vaccination programme.
Thanh suggested that parents be proactive about taking their children to be vaccinated, rather than seeking urgent rescue from imported vaccines during an outbreak.
While local people still worry about Quinvaxem, Thanh made clear that 8,000 children per month received the vaccine the previous year, of which only a few cases resulted in fever or fretfulness.
Tran Lam, the father of a six-month son in Hai Chau District, said his son had a temperature after being injected with Quinvaxem at a medical centre last month.
"My son had a rash and fever one day. I called the doctors and listened to their instructions. My son recovered with pain-killers," Lam said.— VNS