Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The rate of children vaccinated against measles in Ho Chi Minh City is now at 76.2 percent, well below the recommended level of 90 percent plus.

According to Nguyen Tri Dung, head of the municipal Preventive Health Centre, the rate is higher than previous years thanks to the expansion of vaccination services in addition to Vietnam’s expanded programme on immunisation (EPI).   

However, the service has its shortcomings. Counsellors at centres offering the service often advise parents to wait until their babies are 12 months old to take the 3-in-1 measles-mumps-rubella shot. The first vaccine shot against measles is supposed to take place at nine months old and the second at 18 months old under Ministry of Health guidelines.

The delay has led to a large number of vulnerable under-12-month-old children, resulting in a recent surge in measles infections. From August 2018 to date, some 3,000 children have contracted the disease, 30 percent of them under one year old without vaccination.

The HCM City Health Department has told these centres to deliver correct advice on measles vaccination, which covers the first shot when the child ages 9 months.

The city began providing the 5-in-1 ComBe Five vaccine for under-one-year-old children as part of the EPI last month. Two weeks after the provision of the new vaccine in Tan Phu district and District 6, 66 children have taken the shot. The vaccine will be offered in more localities in the city in the near future.-VNA