Unvaccinated children put others at risk, official warns
  • | vov, | February 04, 2015 08:24 AM
 >>  Vietnam on alert after measles outbreak

Vaccination programme failures are posing a major risk of spreading potentially fatal contagious diseases among children as small outbreaks spread in the northern region of Vietnam, a health official has warned.

A child with measles in National Pediatric Hospital

According to the Office of Expanded Programmes on Immunisation in Northern Regions, in January alone the National Paediatric Hospital received 48 cases of whooping cough, compared to 22 cases last year, and 91 measles cases, an increase of 51 cases on the same period in 2014.

Dr. Pham Quang Thai, from the Office of Expanded Programmes on Immunisation, said most children diagnosed with whooping cough and 61 percent of children with measles had not been vaccinated.

Thai said that some parents are scared of immunisation risks, while other parents delay immunisation until their children qualify for five-in-one or six-in-one vaccines.

"Unvaccinated children unintentionally put other kids at risk, especially infants," he said. "We are seeing cases where babies less than two months old are infected with whooping cough."

Vaccination coverage in cities and provinces are at 92 percent, but it is only 80 percent at the district level, and 50 percent in communes. Children in disadvantaged and mountainous areas may not even be vaccinated, Thai said.

Dr. Tran Dac Phu, the head of the Department of Preventive Medicine, said, "Contagious diseases are scattered across the country and have not reached an outbreak level, but it is clear than most of the patients are children whose parents have delayed vaccinations or kids who are too young to be vaccinated.

"We advise parents to give their child full vaccinations in a timely manner. If vaccinations are not in synch, the child is more likely to be infected with measles, whooping cough and rubella."

Pham Thi Que, a parent from Quang Ninh Province, said she had to transfer her child to the Hanoi's National Pediatric Hospital because of whooping cough.

Que said her child had one shot of Quinvaxem, a conjugation of five individual vaccines in one that protect children in infancy from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type B. But she did not continue her child's immunisation programme.

"He is two years old and only had one shot of Quinvaxem, but he developed a fever and I did not dare to give him the next shot," she said.

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