Decline in vaccination against hepatitis B alert

Vaccination against hepatitis B in the National Expanded Immunization Program has declined in the first six months of 2014 while Vietnam has high rate of hepatitis B patients.

Babies should be vaccinated within 24 hours after born (Photo: SGGP)

The latest report showed that the rate of hepatitis B vaccination is around 20 percent, 56 percent lower than last year while around 22,000 Vietnamese people have died of hepatitis B every year.

Hepatitis B shoot was included in the National Expanded Immunization Program from 1997. In 2005, the rate of infant receiving the shoot within 24 hours after born was over 60 percent and 75 percent in 2012.

However, owing to recent vaccination accidents, the proportion has decreased much. Medical experts fretted about the low rate of hepatitis B immunization as it will lead to an increased percentage of cirrhosis and liver cancer in adult patients.

In 2013, Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City received over 3,000 hepatitis C patients while the Tropical Disease Hospital said around 20,000 patients per month sent to the hospital for chronic hepatitis C treatment and 20 percent of them suffered severe cirrhosis.

Seriously, Professor Pham Hoang Phiet chairman of the HCMC Liver and Gall Association, said that treatment of hepatitis C costs expensively while hepatitis C is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Moreover, treatment of hepatitis C costs a lot while the insurance companies does not pay for the fee.

Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, director of the Tropical Disease Hospital said that 90 percent of hepatitis C infected people can not afford the treatment cost and most of  them have to stop treatment in the middle. It costs VND120 million (US$5,660) for a course of treatment in 48 weeks.

Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau said if patients receive proper treatment in the first phase, they will avoid the diseases about cirrhosis and liver cancer and even be able to prevent the transmission into the community.

By Tuong Lam - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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