Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health has put forward a proposal to inoculate children against measles from the age of sixth months instead of the current ninth months.
If approved, the proposal will be implemented in the fourth quarter of this year in anti-measles campaign in high-risk areas.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said that lowering the age would help Việt Nam eradicate measles by 2020.
Long urged families to vaccinate their children on schedule, while the ministry was aiming for ensuring vaccination coverage of over 95 per cent.
Measles reportedly occurs mostly in winter and spring, but outbreaks of the disease have been on the rise this summer.
According to a report from the Ministry of Health, Hà Nội currently has the highest number of measles cases. Notably, children under nine months old who had not been vaccinated were among the reported cases.
Hoàng Đức Hạnh, deputy director of Hà Nội’s Department of Health, has asked the Hà Nội Preventive Medicine Centre, along with the city’s districts and communes, to monitor the disease to prevent an outbreak.
Vân, mother of a 2-year-old boy in Hà Nội, told Việt Nam News that safe vaccines were more important than when her baby was vaccinated.
Deputy director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Trần Như Dương, said the reason children in Việt Nam receive their first measles vaccine at nine months old is because they are protected by antibodies in breast milk.
However, a recent clinical trial in Hải Dương Province showed that more than 92 per cent of children aged from six to eight months were not carrying those antibodies.
According to a report by the Ministry of Health, in the first five months of this year, 354 cases of measles were recorded in 25 out of 63 provinces and cities, against the country’s total figure of 300 cases in 2017.
“Following the four-year cycle, Việt Nam must be vigilant about the possibility of a measles epidemic returning this year, especially in the northern region,” Dương said, adding that measles was one of the most readily transmitted communicable diseases.
“One person with measles can infect up to 20 others,” he said.
According to the latest report, more than 32,600 children had not been vaccinated against the disease over the past five years. The last outbreak of measles in the city occurred in 2014 with 1,700 cases, and claimed the lives of more than 100 children. — VNS