Shortage of 6-in-1 vaccine leaves children vulnerable hinh anh 1A medical worker vaccinates a girl at the Kindergarten No 8 in Vinh Long city, Vinh Long province. (Photo: VNA)

Six-in-one vaccines aren't available and the shortage should last until next year, Ministry of Health's Preventive Medicine Department Head Tran Dac Phu said on August 4.

The out-of-country unit that manufactures the vaccines is in the process of changing its location and production lines, Phu said.

He suggested people use the five-in-one Quinvaxem vaccine instead. It protects children from diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio and Haemophilus influenza type B (HiB). The six-in-one vaccine additionally protects against Hepatitis B.

Many people refused to use the domestically produced five-in-one vaccine because they preferred imported ones, which they believe are safer, Phu said.

In response to questions on the side effects of the Quinvaxem vaccine, which have scared off parents, Phu said all vaccines are carefully and tightly inspected. Children could have fevers after being vaccinated, but they should only last a day.

Immunisation drive

Injectable polio vaccines will be supplied under the free expanded immunisation programme for children in 2016, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Dang Duc Anh said.

Previously an oral polio vaccine was given to children in Vietnam. It worked well and polio was eradicated in Vietnam in 2000.

Anh said the two methods had the same effect, but the world was shifting from using the oral vaccine to the injectable ones due to safety concerns. Experts have said there was a possibility that the live and weakened virus in the oral vaccine could escape into the environment and spread the disease.

The inactivated, injectable polio vaccine would be more safe, Anh said.

As Vietnam has succeeded in making the rotavirus vaccine, Anh said it would be included in the programme in the future. He said this vaccine would be very important, as diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus was common among Vietnamese children.

After the successful national measles-rubella vaccination campaign for children between 1 and 14 years, the Health Ministry was planning to launch other campaigns and provide new vaccines, especially for diseases that spread rapidly and cause high mortality rates, Anh said.-VNA