|Many parents want to get their children costly imported vaccines instead of the free-of-charge vaccines provided by the National Expanded Vaccination Programme (EPI). — Photo VNS Duong Ngoc
HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Health has announced that it will inspect vaccination activities across the nation in efforts to improve their quality and ensure that all children are vaccinated safely, effectively and timely.
According to a written announcement the ministry released on Monday, eleven inspection teams will visit the four regions (north, south, central and central highlands) of the country to improve vaccination safety procedures.
The efforts come in the wake of reports of a shortage of international vaccines in clinics in big cities like Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang and Can Tho.
Many parents want to get their children costly imported vaccines instead of the free-of-charge vaccines provided by the National Expanded Vaccination Programme (EPI).
Recent shortages of "six-in-one" and "five-in-one" vaccines manufactured by Glaxo SmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur companies put the issue of EPI versus international vaccines in the public focus.
Many parents have decided to wait for the expensive foreign vaccines, but some officials are concerned that it will only further the risk of disease and outbreak.
The health ministry asked provincial and city health departments to organise public awareness campaigns alerting parents to the benefits of vaccinations, as well as the availability of the EPI's free vaccines.
Private clinics offering foreign vaccines have been asked to use EPI vaccines in the case of shortages.
The ministry requested health departments to strengthen supervision, inspection and strictly handle vaccination violations.
The Drug Administration of Viet Nam will collaborate with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to ensure there are enough vaccine sources for the EPI.
The EPI has been working in communes and cities nation-wide, providing between 35 to 40 million doses of vaccines to 1.6 million newborns a year.
The EPI has been instrumental in eliminating polio and neonatal tetanus, and reducing the number of child fatalities caused by transmitted diseases in Viet Nam, according to the health ministry. — VNS