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Imports reduction causes vaccine shortage

Update: May, 28/2014 - 08:16
A medical worker gives a chicken pox vaccine at an immunisation centre in Ha Noi. Some enterprises reduced the amount of vaccines they imported, creating a shortage of vaccines for the immunisation service programme. — VNA/VNS Photo Quy Trung

HA NOI (VNS) — As some enterprises could not sell the vaccines they had imported last year, they reduced the amount imported this year, leading to a shortage of vaccines in the immunisation services, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The country has two immunisation programmes, namely the national immunisation programme and the immunisation services.

The MOH supplies 11 free vaccines, such as those against tuberculosis, diphtheria, polio and whooping cough, to the national immunisation programme. The funds for the programme come from the State and the MOH budget. The vaccines were ordered, manufactured and supplied a year ago.

The vaccines being used in the immunisation services were imported based on market demand, the MOH said in an announcement yesterday.

The immunisation services also provided 11 vaccines available in the national immunisation programme and some other ones such as those for chicken-pox, flu and meningoencephalitis.

The vaccines in the immunisation services were imported, often from the US, France, Cuba and South Korea, by different companies based on their forecast of the market demand.

Experts from the MOH said that low awareness of the people in some parts of the country and a few reports about negative reactions being experienced after vaccinations led to a serious fall in the demand for vaccines.

Many enterprises had imported the vaccines last year but could not sell them all. So they reduced the amount of vaccine imports this year.

The MOH has taken several measures to ensure the supply of the chicken-pox vaccine. It permitted companies to import 77,600 doses from South Korea, 19,830 doses from Belgium and 200,000 doses from the US.

It also set up more offices in HCM City to check the imported vaccines before their use.

The MOH plans to improve dissemination of information to raise residents' awareness on receiving vaccination. — VNS


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