As many as 23 million Vietnamese children aged from nine months to 14 years will receive rubella vaccines as part of the expanded immunisation programme in 2014.

The figure came out from a conference, co-organised by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation in Hanoi on November 19.

The vaccine will be provided free of charge to all children in the age group throughout Vietnam, it was heard.

According to the World Health Organisation, around 30,000-45,000 children in Vietnam are born with congenital defects every year due to various reasons. Expecting mother infected with the rubella virus during pregnancy is a common cause.

As many as 90 percent of children born to women who catch the virus in the first three months of pregnancy will have defects, the organisation added.

At the meeting, the Health Ministry’s representative said the immunisation programme has provided free vaccines against 11 infectious diseases for several million women as well as children under five years old since 1985. The rate of vaccination in the under fives has recently reached 90 percent.

In the Millennium Development Goal on reducing the rate of child deaths, all countries committed to making vaccination the top priority, therefore cooperation between the relevant departments and agencies is crucial to spread the immunisation message.-VNA