All 63 provinces and cities across Vietnam completed the first phase of the national measles-rubella vaccination campaign with more than 9.5 million children safely receiving free shots, preliminary reports from the localities show.

All vaccine samples taken randomly at vaccinations sites in eight localities met quality requirements and were delivered and preserved in standards conditions, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Tran Nhu Duong said on November 26.

The phase from September and October received support from local authorities but encountered several difficulties in public awareness and communication, especially in rural areas, Nhuong said, adding that it was under review so that organisers could have an exact look on its outcomes as well as shortcomings.

The campaign’s second phase is being held in November and December this year while the third one will take place in January and February, 2015. Most of children subject to these phases are primary and secondary students, added Duong.

The free vaccination campaign targets about 23 million children between 1 and 14 years old throughout Vietnam , increasing the vaccination rate for children of this age group to 95 percent.

It was prompted by a measles epidemic that erupted in Vietnam in the first quarter of 2014, with outbreaks reported in 61 out of the 63 cities and provinces.-VNA