Vietnamese PM pushes for mass production of vaccines

By VnExpress   November 25, 2016 | 04:17 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese PM pushes for mass production of vaccines
Vietnam expects to make vaccine 5-in-1 and 6-in-1 from 2018 to meet domestic market. Photo by Reuters
Infectious diseases could run riot without an adequate supply of inoculations.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc unveiled plans to invest in manufacturing infrastructure and core technologies to mass-produce vaccines at a cabinet meeting on Thursday. 

The country has suffered various shortages of the vaccines critical to fighting infectious diseases in recent years. Health experts forecast more serious shortages by 2019 when Vietnam will be no longer eligible for support from the Global Alliance for Vaccines following its transition to middle-income status.

The shortages call into question Vietnam’s ability to meet public health needs as the country currently lacks the manufacturing infrastructure to produce vaccines on a large scale

The PM also introduced a bold proposal to supplement the government’s research, development and distribution of vaccines through private production.

According to the Health Ministry, Vietnam is among the few countries in Southeast Asia capable of producing vaccines independently, citing the fact that Vietnam has managed to produce 11 out of the 12 vaccines outlined in the National Expanded Program on Immunization.

Since 2009 the country has managed to produce enough measles vaccines to inoculate the entire country. This is critical given that measles is a highly contagious viral infection that is particularly harmful to small children and pregnant women.

When a measles outbreak occurred in 2014, Vietnam was quick to prevent the disease from spreading thanks to an abundant supply of the vaccine.

However, Vietnam has been unable to combine several vaccines in one shot, for instance, 5-in-1 or 6-in-1 combination vaccines, said health officials.

Over the last 25 years, vaccines have protected 6.7 million Vietnamese children and prevented an estimated 42,000 deaths from childhood diseases such as measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and tuberculosis, said the World Health Organization.

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Deadly diphtheria returns to southern Vietnam due to low vaccination rate

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