Percentage of fully-immunised infants maintained at above 90 percent since 2000

The percentage of fully-immunised infants has been maintained at above 90 percent since 2000, said Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Dang Duc Anh.

Illustrative image. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

At a conference held in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on November 3, Anh said 95 percent of Vietnamese infants have completed full vaccination programmes during the 2016-2020 period, under an expanded national vaccination programme, VNA reported.

Immunisation work this year has been affected by COVID-19, he said, adding that some 100,000 children missed out on life-saving DPT-VGB-HiB shots against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenza B (HIB).

According to a report from the institute, Vietnam successfully eradicated polio in 2000 and has worked to protect this achievement. It has good control over measles and is moving towards eliminating the disease shortly. National measles inoculation stands at over 95 percent.

Several new vaccines were put into use during the period, including the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), with over 2 million five-month-old children getting the first shots nationwide. In addition, children aged seven years have received a Td shot against tetanus and diphtheria since 2019. This year, the combined diphtheria and tetanus vaccine reached 35 cities and provinces nationwide.

The healthcare sector targets sustaining such achievements during 2021-2025 and is working to eradicate other diseases with vaccines while trying to improve the quality of the vaccination system.

On the occasion of the World Immunisation Week that lasts from April 24-30, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Vietnam have released a joint statement ensuring that children are vaccinated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the joint statement, with the COVID-19 pandemic dominating attention in Vietnam and across the world, WHO and UNICEF are calling on national and local health authorities, families and communities, as well as development partners and the private sector to step up efforts to ensure that children continue to receive essential immunization during the pandemic, so that ground is not lost in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases.

If vaccination continues to be disrupted, those diseases could return, and the world could see vaccine preventable disease outbreaks.

At this critical time, children are missing important milestones in their immunisation schedule and this situation could put their health at risk. 

Data from around the world indicate that more than 117 million children are at risk of missing out on measles vaccines globally due to the pandemic, and Vietnam is not an exception.

The science proved that vaccines work. They are a safe, effective and life-saving tool against certain diseases that can be deadly for children. Immunisation can also protect adolescents, adults, older people, and they keep whole communities safe.

Vietnam strives to improve immunisation services across the country. The Ministry of Health works on the basis of scientific evidence to build confidence, trust and demand for vaccination among communities and to counter misinformation spread online.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed what is at stake when communities do not have the protective shield of immunisation against an infectious disease.

“We need to build on past and current experiences to better prepare for future disease outbreaks, and we must act now to develop appropriate strategies with political and financial commitment to protect existing and future immunisation services.  Let’s join hands to save lives with immunisations readily available to everyone,” it concluded.

Phuong Nguyen