Vaccination loophole leads to spike in measles cases

Vaccination consultants play an important in improving immunization coverage because some consultants in medical clinics where parents pay for imported vaccine advised parents to get three-in-one vaccine measles-mumps- rubella at the month of 12 instead of one shot at the month of nine, according to director of the municipal Preventive Medicine Department Dr. Nguyen Tri Dung.

Vaccination loophole leads to spike in measles cases

Therefore, a large number of children over 12 months old get vaccinated triggering the widespread transmission in the community.
It is vaccination loophole which has led to measles outbreaks and spike in measles cases because the proportion of unvaccinated measles infants below 12 month old was 30 percent from August, 2018 till now.
Normally, during and after Tet holiday ( the Lunar New Year), diseases tend to decrease. However, from the end of 2018 to now, Ho Chi Minh City in particular and the country in general have seen rise of measles cases which has shown no sign of abating.
Worse, over 90 percent of measles patients were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.
According to the Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health, 43 over 63 cities and provinces countrywide reported cases of measles. Just in two early months of 2019, out of 5,246 cases with rash, 500 patients tested positive for measles virus.
Cities and provinces with leading cases are Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the northern provinces of Bac Ninh, Quang Ninh, Thanh Hoa, Dien Bien, Yen Bai, the central province of Nghe An and the southern provinces of Binh Duong, Ca Mau.
Hanoi has recorded around 190 cases of measles since the beginning of the year whereas it had been 20 cases in 2018.
From the beginning to now, there have been 1,087 measles cases, a year-on-year increase of 1,085 cases. Currently, 24 districts have recorded the disease with leading cases in districts 8, Binh Tan and Binh Chanh, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Preventive Medicine Department.
Dr. Dung added that the immunization coverage in the city reached 40 percent – 50 percent before. The city health authority has made efforts to raise the coverage rate to 76.2 percent in 2018.
Noticeably, immunization coverage in some wards in the city is very low. For instance, Head of the medical center in Tan Thoi Nhat ward in district 12 Dr. Truong Minh Thogn Nhat said that the vaccination coverage reached 56 percent in early months of the year, much lower than the city’s average rate.
He informed that the center has increased parents’ awareness of vaccination but many of them refused or hesitated to take their kids to the center for vaccination. Outbreak of measles hit the ward with two unvaccinated infants, said Dr. Thong Nhat.
Head of the Preventive Medicine Department Dr. Tran Dac Phu said that the culprit of increase in measles patients in some localities was that people did not get full vaccination.
Moreover, big cities have more cases of measles because of high travelling from places to places resulting in difficulties in controlling.
Director of the National Tropical Disease Hospital Professor Nguyen Van Kinh warned of severe complications of measles including pneumonia, bronchitis, breathing problem and encephalitis .
Parents can keep measles children at home to take care of them; however, they must rush kids to infirmaries when children experience high fever, breathing problem.
In 2019, medical clinics will administer shots of vaccine to children below five. Simultaneously, the health sector will liaise with the education sector to remind parents of their kids’ vaccination schedule.
HCMC will pilot ComBe Five vaccination on 66 kids in district 6 and Tan Phu in February in March, said Dr. Dung. Initially, no cases of severe side effects; however, parents still hesitated to take the new vaccine.
It is scheduled that the vaccine will be administer citywide from March. Before, medical centers have been informed the administration of the new vaccine
Additionally, the city health sector has planned to expand the supply of five-in-one vaccine and six-in-one vaccine to curb the shortage of paid vaccine.

By staff writers - Translated by UYEN PHUONG

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