Minister of Health Dao Hong Lan speaks at the National Assembly’s discussion session on socio-economic
Health Minister Lan made the statemetn at the National Assembly’s discussion session on socio-economic yesterday afternoon.
Regarding the lack of vaccines in the expanded immunization program in 2023 that the National Assembly deputies worry about, the Health Minister said that the Ministry of Health has implemented the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) to make immunization against 10 dangerous infectious diseases for children and women across the country for many years. In the 2016-2020 period, the Ministry of Health was given funds to conduct concentrated procurement of vaccines for the expanded vaccination program, anti-tuberculosis (TB) drugs, and anti-HIV drugs.
Between 2021 and 2022, the Ministry of Health was assigned an estimate for procurement to supply vaccines for the expanded vaccination program for the two years 2021 and 2022.
In 2022, the Covid-19 epidemic affected the implementation of some program contents in many localities. Currently, the Ministry of Health has directed provinces and cities to deploy regular injections in the last months of the year and review children and women who have not received vaccines as per recommended childhood immunization schedule to administer supplementary and compensatory injections nationwide.
The Ministry of Health has requested the Ministry of Finance to develop a state budget estimate in 2023 for the implementation of the content of 2023 such as purchasing vaccines for the Expanded Immunization Program, anti-TB drugs, anti-HIV drugs, ARVs and vitamin A as well as to supply vaccine for localities.
In particular, the Ministry has proposed to allocate funds to carry out the tasks of shifting from the target program on health and population to regular tasks to buy vaccines for the Expanded Immunization Program, and anti-TB drugs for those who do not have health insurance cards, ARV drugs and vitamin A for children. However, according to the provisions of the Law on Public Investment, the Ministry of Health is not allowed to allocate funds to carry out this task.
The Minister said that the Ministry of Health has also reviewed the source of the vaccine for 2022 to now. The Expanded Immunization Program has provided a sufficient number of domestically produced vaccines for 2022 and it is enough until July 2023.
Particularly, hepatitis B and tuberculosis vaccines are enough for demand until August 2023, while Japanese encephalitis vaccines, measles, rubella, and bOPV vaccines are enough for the demand until the third and fourth quarters of 2023 and tetanus and polio vaccines are adequate until the end of 2023. Currently, people can get vaccines from the Expanded Immunization Program which is administered at vaccination venues in communes and wards.
To ensure the supply of tuberculosis drugs, ARVs, and high-dose Vitamin A, the Ministry of Health has been working with donors and using available drug sources.
The Ministry of Health is also implementing a campaign to supplement vitamin A for children nationwide, starting from International Children's Day on June 1.
Explaining why the 5-in-1 imported vaccines are short in the market, Ms. Lan said that the bidding and procurement procedures were carried out in 2022 according to regulations, but no one took part in the bidding resulting in a shortage in the market.
To ensure enough supply of vaccines in 2023, the Ministry of Health has submitted to the Government a draft resolution on this content, then the Vietnamese Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Health to coordinate with the Ministry of Finance to arrange funding and central budget of 2023 for the performance of procurement according to regulations.
Currently, the Ministry of Health aggregates all the needs of 63 provinces related to the request to buy vaccines. On the other hand, the Government and the National Assembly's monitoring team agreed to propose the National Assembly for the allocation of the state budget to carry out the program in the context that the population health target program has ended.
Regarding the issue of rare drugs, the Ministry of Health is developing regulations related to the storage of special rare drugs to apply nationwide. It will report to the Government on the regulation of storage of special rare drugs in the third quarter of this year.