|The Ministry of Health is considering the addition, which includes shots against pneumococcus, diarrhoea caused by rotavirus, and cervical cancer. — Photo hanoimoi
HCM CITY (VNS) — Three more vaccines could be added to the National Expanded Programme for Immunisation (EPI), increasing the number to 14, according to Nguyen Tran Hien, its head.
The Ministry of Health is considering the addition, which includes shots against pneumococcus, diarrhoea caused by rotavirus, and cervical cancer.
But Hien revealed that the approval would come soon because Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has pledged to provide the three vaccines for free initially.
He hoped that the ministry would give its approval soon since Viet Nam is on the verge of exiting the list of countries –with an average income of less than $1,500 — that GAVI supports. Its income per capita now is $1,960.
The vaccines are very expensive, with the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer alone costs nearly 80$ per shot.
The three diseases send a large number of children to hospital in the country.
Hien also said that the combined rubella and measles vaccine would be provided free to 23 million children aged between one year and 14 in September to prevent their transmission from children to caregivers, reduce their incidence in the community, and gradually eliminate them.
The EPI, carried out since 1985, managed to eliminate smallpox in the 1970s, polio in 2000, and tetanus in 2005.
The incidence of diphtheria has fallen 167 times and that of pertussis, 428 times.
The programme covers every commune and ward in the country.
Viet Nam produces 10 of 11 vaccines currently given to children.
There are now nearly 30 infectious diseases globally that are preventable with vaccines.
WHO estimates that two or three million more children will be saved if all the vaccines are given to more than 90 per cent of children, enabling the achievement of one of the UN's millennium development goals of reducing two thirds of fatalities among children under five by 2015. — VNS