Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Thanh Hoa (VNA) – A meeting in response to the Immunisation Week took place in the central province of Thanh Hoa on May 14.

The event is part of a communication campaign to raise public awareness of the vaccination’s importance and rally public involvement at home and abroad for the effort, particularly in remote, mountainous and island areas.

Addressing the meeting, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said nearly 115 million Vietnamese babies are vaccinated each year.

Via the Expanded Programme on Immunisation launched in 1985, hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have been given to children and women for free, preventing them from dangerous infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, whooping cough, tetanus, rubella, among others.

However, 3-5 percent of children below one year old are yet to be fully vaccinated while around 10 percent of 18-month-old children are yet to be inoculated against measles, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

An estimated 5-10 percent of districts, mostly in remote and mountainous areas, fail to achieve inoculation goals, he said.

On the occasion, Long suggested authorities at all levels work closely with the health sector to implement the programme effectively, ensuring all children’s access to immunisation.

According to the Health Ministry’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Vietnam eliminated paralysis in 2000 and tetanus in 2005.

Over the past five years, the rate of hepatitis B vaccination for new-born babies within 24 hours has surged to 69.8 percent from 21 percent.

Initiated by the World Health Organisation in 2011, the Immunisation Week is held annually from late April to May. As many as 180 countries and territories worldwide have responded to the event.-VNA