Public waits for made-in-Vietnam vaccine, stopping depend on foreign suppliers

Unlike previous years before, it has seen a severe shortage of vaccine this year, especially five-in-one and six-in-one vaccine and chicken pox vaccine hence the public is waiting for the day when local vaccines will meet increased demand.

From the middle of 2014, the shortage of some vaccines is becoming serious and serious especially vaccine which helps protect against varicella and 6-in-1 vaccine against five diseases: polio, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae b (Hib)), plus hepatitis B.

According to the Drug Administration of Vietnam under the Ministry of Health, the shortage is due to foreign supplier.

As per the Department of Health in Ho Chi Minh City's latest report, GlaxoSmithKline Company said that only around 38,000 dozes of 6-in-1 Infanrix Hexa vaccine will be supplied to the Vietnamese market in 2015 and of which 4,000 dozes will be for Pasteur Institute for clinical studies.

For Varivax vaccine,   Merck Sharp & Dohme has ordered 170,000 dozes for Vietnamese market in 2016.

As per the Ministry of Health, in 2015, 5-in-1 serviced vaccine is just satisfied 10 percent of orders subsequently leading to severe shortage. Accordingly, the Ministry advised parents to use free vaccines in the National Expanded Immunization Program for their children instead of 5-in-1 Quinvaxem vaccine.

Nevertheless, many serious post-vaccination occurred caused concern amongst parents. The shortage of vaccine will continue until second half of 2016 when 49,000 dozes of 6-in-1 vaccine will be supplied.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has certified Vietnamese National Regulatory Authorities which are responsible for quality of every pharmaceutical product – including vaccines – used within the country.

Accordingly, Vietnamese-made vaccines can be exported to other nations in the world.
Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said that Vietnam is 39th members which formally certified by WHO amongst 43 countries which can produce vaccines.

Currently, Vietnam can make 11 out of 13 vaccines used in the National Expanded Immunization Program including tuberculosis (BCG), diphtheria, whooping-cough, tetanus, measles, polio, hepatitis A and B, pneumonia / purulent meningitis caused by Hib, Japanese B encephalitis, cholera and typhoid. Yet the vaccines have not met the increased demand following the Ministry's statistics, nearly 30 infectious diseases need to be vaccinated.

Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long said that the country was totally dependent on imported vaccines before although it has vaccine producers including the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No 1 (VABIOTECH), Da Lat Pasteur Vaccine Company (DAVAC), Polyvac Measles Vaccine Plant and the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biology (IVAC).

Lately, VABIOTECH has exported over 3 million dozes of Japanese B encephalitis into India and will export it to East Timor soon. Over 32,000 dozes of hepatitis A vaccine have been sold to the South Korean market and 115,000 oral cholera vaccine have been exported to Sri Lanka, Philippine, and India.

As per WHO's report, Vietnam ranks one of 25 countries which are potential for making large quantity of vaccine. Currently the Vietnamese Government has approved the project to develop local vaccine for ill people yet Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long said that the country needs to promote researches on new vaccines for future use targeting to meet almost the country's demand by 2020.

As per the project of national vaccine for ill people, the Ministry has planned since now till 2020, Vietnam will produce at least 7 vaccines which meet the demand of the National Expanded Immunization program to replace the imported vaccine and for export. Manufacturing 5-in-1 and 6-in-1 vaccine is top priority for direction in the future.

By Tuong Lam - Translated by Anh Quan

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