As many as 757,000 children under 14 in 26 provinces and cities across the country had received measles-rubella shots by October 6 under a free vaccination campaign run by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Tran Dac Phu, Head of the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department (HPMD) reported the figure at a meeting of the National Steering Committee of the campaign held on October 8.

More than 27 million doses of measles-rubella vaccines will be supplied for the drive, splitting into four deliveries in August, September, October and December, Phu said.

The official hailed the preparations made by localities for the campaign, with smooth coordination between the health care and education sectors under the close instruction of local governments.

During the meeting, Health Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said Vietnam is one of 39 countries implementing free measles-rubella vaccination, adding that this is the biggest scale drive of this kind so far launched by the ministry.

The Deputy Minister also called for a close cooperation among ministries, agencies, localities while emphasizing the active involvement of citizens and foreign nationals living in Vietnam.

He suggested that the Ministry of Education and Training and Ministry of National Defence take practical measures to facilitate the campaign’s activities in their fields.

The free vaccination campaign was prompted by a measles epidemic that erupted in Vietnam in the first quarter of 2014, with outbreaks reported in 61 out of 63 cities and provinces.

The three-phase campaign is expected to benefit 23 million children aged 1-14, increasing the vaccination rate for children of this age group to 95 percent.

Vaccination was proven to be the most effective response to the outbreak, bringing the disease under control in May.

The ministry has assigned four review missions to supervise implementation of the vaccination drive at all levels and localities, who reported that safety has been ensured throughout the vaccination process and n o post-vaccination side effects recorded so far.-VNA