Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Many district preventive health centres and ward and commune health stations in HCM City have run out of Quinvaxem vaccine for infants against five common, potentially fatal diseases.
It was to have been replaced by a new Indian vaccine, ComBE Five, at the beginning of this month, but the replacement has yet to be delivered to the centres, according to the city’s Department of Health.
The Drug Administration of Việt Nam said the new vaccine is undergoing quality checks and is expected to be delivered next week.
The vaccines are given to infants aged two to four months against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and haemophilus influenza type B.
The Vietnam News Agency quoted Đinh Thị Liên, deputy head of the Bình Trưng Tây Ward Health Station in District 2, as saying her facility only had three doses of the Korean vaccine left.
On September 10 Phan Thị Ngọc, whose daughter needs to get one more shot of Quinvaxem at the Bình Trưng Tây Ward Health Station, was worried about going home without getting the shot.
Dr Lại Phước Hòa, head of the Bình Chánh District Health Centre, said the remaining doses can only meet half of the demand, but reassured parents that children would not be affected by getting the shot a month late.
The Department of Health said parents should provide accurate contact details so that health staff at the centres can call back when ComBE Five is available.
Meanwhile, they should take precautionary measures such as washing hands frequently and avoiding contacting with infected people, it said.
Parents who can afford it should take their children to get Pentaxim and Infanrix Hexa shots though these are not provided free by the Government, it said.
Dr Trương Hữu Khanh of the infectious and neurological diseases department at the city Children Hospital No 1, said ComBE Five is as safe as Quinvaxem.
Assoc Prof Dr Trần Đắc Phu, head of the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department, told Việt Nam News that Berna Biotech Company no longer produces Quinvaxem, which has been provided under the national immunisation programme since 2010.
The ministry decided to replace it with ComBE Five, which is of comparable quality and has the same ingredients as the Korean vaccine, including cellular components of whooping cough, he said.
Before the Government decided to use ComBE Five nation-wide, it piloted the vaccine in the four provinces of Hà Nam, Bình Định, Kon Tum, and Đồng Tháp.
Đặng Đức Anh, head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said the vaccine has been tested for efficiency by the World Health Organisation and is used in 43 countries around the world, with more than 400 million shots being given so far. — VNS