A child is vaccinated at a health centre in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc
HCM CITY — The disruption of pre-scheduled vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic is an emerging problem and needs to be addressed, experts said at a seminar held in HCM City on Wednesday.
The seminar, held by the Association of Family Physicians under the sponsorship of Sanofi Vietnam, discussed the importance of preventing infectious diseases in the context of COVID-19
Dr. Trần Ngọc Hữu, former director of the Pasteur Institute HCM City, said the interruption in vaccinations could increase the rate of infections and potentially raise the risk of disease outbreaks among the community.
This could create a "double healthcare burden" along with COVID-19, he added.
According to the latest warning from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and GAVI-The Vaccine Alliance, at least 80 million under 1-year-old children across 68 countries are at risk of infectious diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio due to vaccination disruption.
According to Hữu, immunization delays are largely due to the concern about COVID-19 transmission in crowded places, and the lack of awareness about the role of vaccination in preventing dangerous communicable diseases.
“Vaccination has proven to be the most effective method to proactively prevent an infectious outbreak. Vaccination is the means of stimulating the human body to produce active immunity against a certain infection,” he said.
“So far, about 30 kinds of infections are vaccine-preventable, and 190 countries widely use vaccines. Immunization plays a significant role in society’s preventive efforts," Hữu said. "Having achieved many goals from the expanded immunisation program, Việt Nam has seen the reduction of infectious diseases by thousands of times compared to previous periods."
A seminar on the "importance of preventing infectious diseases in the context of COVID-19” was held on Wednesday by the Association of Family Physicians in HCM City, under the sponsorship of Sanofi Vietnam. — Photo courtesy of Sanofi
Dr Trương Hữu Khanh, former head of the Children’s Hospital No.1’s infectious and nervous diseases department, said that people should adhere to the vaccination schedule to ensure the health and wellbeing of their families and the community.
In particular, key immunization milestones that need special attention include a child's first 12 months, a crucial period for compulsory injections; the stage between 2 and 4 years of age, which requires completion of compulsory shots and first booster shots for immunity enhancement; and pre-school, an important period to strengthen the child’s immunity before entering a new environment.
Without proper vaccinations, the elderly are at risk of transmission of seasonal flu, chickenpox and pneumococcal diseases. Illnesses such as seasonal flu can lead to unexpected dangerous complications including stroke and heart attack, experts have said. — VNS