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Thursday, July 25, 2024

HCMC faces vaccine shortage for expanded immunization program

By Minh Anh

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HCMC – The southern metropolis is grappling with a severe shortage of vaccines, requiring over 1.7 million vaccine doses for the expanded vaccination program throughout 2023 and the first half of 2024.

The HCMC Department of Health has brought this issue to the attention of the city’s People’s Committee, emphasizing the urgent need for various types of vaccines.

Among the 12 vaccine types facing shortages, the most critical ones include the oral polio vaccine (OPV), the BCG vaccine, the DPT-VGB-Hib combination vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type b, as well as the measles vaccine.

This assessment and reporting of vaccination needs are in direct response to Resolution 98 issued by the Government on July 10.

The resolution focuses on allocating the central budget for the Ministry of Health in 2023 to purchase vaccines required for the expanded immunization program.

As part of the process, the ministry has assigned provincial and centrally-governed cities to conduct thorough reviews and submit reports on their respective vaccine demands.

Several localities, including HCMC, have previously experienced vaccine shortages for expanded immunization programs.

By June 2023, the Ministry of Health had received correspondence from 16 localities, some of which urged the ministry to facilitate centralized procurement or negotiate vaccine prices.

However, due to legal restrictions set by the Law on Bidding, the ministry had to seek permission from the Government to procure vaccines for expanded vaccination programs using local budget resources.

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