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HCMC runs out of flu vaccines

Update: October, 12/2016 - 11:48
Many health facilities in HCM City have run out of flu vaccines at a time when the peak influenza season is arriving. — VNA/VNS Photo 

HCM CITY — Many health facilities in HCM City have run out of flu vaccines at a time when the peak influenza season is arriving.

Paediatrics Hospital 1 and 2, Nutrition Centre, Mekong Obstetrics Hospital and others have announced on their websites that they are out of flu vaccines.

Staff at the 1080 service, operated by the Việt Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group for 13 health facilities that provide vaccines, said the vaccines were only available at counselling and preventive treatment clinics in District 3, Military Hospital 7A in District 5, and the city’s Preventive Health Centre.

The vaccines are manufactured by Vaxigrip of France and Influvac of the Netherlands.

Nguyễn An Tâm of Thủ Đức District said her two-year-old daughter needs two flu vaccines and one for hepatitis A.

Three months ago, she took her daughter to Pasteur Institute but no flu vaccines were available. “I was told that the hepatitis A vaccine was also out.”

There are shortages of two other vaccines: Infanrix vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, poliomyelitis and Haemophilus influenza type B, and Tetraxim, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio.

These vaccines are not part of the national expanded programme on immunisation, and must be paid for by parents.

According to the city Department of Health, some global pharmaceutical manufacturers have recently changed technology and assembly production lines, causing a shortage of vaccines.

Because of the limited quantity, the vaccines are only being provided to national programmes on immunisation in several countries.

Requirements on strict preservation and expiry dates have also contributed to the shortage.

However, imports have begun of some of the vaccines, including the combined vaccine of Pentaxim against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Haemophilus influenza type B.

Pentaxim shortages have occurred frequently over the last year in Việt Nam. Parents and their chidren have rushed to facilities after hearing that new vaccines have arrived.

The May Cosmetic Joint-Stock Company said it would continue to import and provide 30,000-40,000 doses to the city each month (including last month) to the year end.

This amount should be enough for demand, but the city must first verify the vaccines before selling them in the market.

Since the beginning of this year, the company has provided around 27,000 doses to the city. —VNS

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