More than 12.36 million children across Vietnam have safely received free measles-rubella shots as a national free vaccination campaign is in its second phase, said the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine.

The second phase is running between November and December this year while the third one will take place in January and February 2015.

Earlier, the first phase was held in September and October with more than 9.5 million children vaccinated against the diseases, according to preliminary reports from the localities in late November.

The free vaccination campaign targets about 23 million children between 1 and 14 years old throughout Vietnam with an aim to increase 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 nationwide.

To date, 50 out of the 63 localities have reported to have the vaccination rate of more than 95 percent.-VNA