HCMC faces urgent vaccine shortages in Expanded Program on Immunization

The HCMC Department of Health has reported that the remaining stock of vaccines in the HCMC Expanded Program on Immunization is now less than 3,000 doses and is projected to be exhausted within the next two weeks.

Notably, there are just 89 doses of the hepatitis B vaccine remaining.

On October 12, the HCMC Department of Health reported that the vaccine supply under the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in the city is gradually depleting. More precisely, there are approximately 3,000 doses of the DPT-VGB-Hib vaccine (5-in-1 vaccine), 2,300 doses of the measles-rubella vaccine, 660 doses of the measles vaccine, 600 doses of the tetanus vaccine, and a mere 89 doses of the hepatitis B vaccine remaining. The HCMC Center for Disease Control (HCDC) predicts that this vaccine supply will only last for the next two weeks.

For several years, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, responsible for the National Expanded Program on Immunization, has managed the vaccine supply. However, from 2022 onwards, there has been a disruption in the vaccine supply under the EPI due to changes in the procurement mechanism after the conclusion of the Health and Population Target Program. This disruption has impacted the availability of specific vaccines under the EPI in the city for a certain duration, including measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, and the 5-in-1 vaccine.

In that context, starting on August 15, the healthcare sector in HCMC received 12,400 doses of the 5-in-1 vaccine allocated by the Ministry of Health with support from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund. After the vaccination of children in accordance with regulations, as of now, fewer than 3,000 doses of this vaccine remain, and it is expected to be depleted within the next two weeks.

In response to the challenges in the nationwide supply of vaccines under the EPI, the Prime Minister issued Resolution 98/NQ-CP on July 10 concerning the budget allocation for the year 2023 and delegated the responsibility to the Ministry of Health for procuring EPI vaccines in accordance with regulations. Subsequently, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology is actively working to restart the vaccine procurement process.

On October 6, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology issued Document No.1983/VSDTTU to local authorities, urging them to review the demand for the DPT-VGB-Hib vaccine (5-in-1 vaccine). Furthermore, the document noted that it is anticipated that the supply of vaccines under the EPI, including the 5-in-1 vaccine, will not be available until the end of December 2023.

Given the current situation, the healthcare sector in HCMC continues to request that the Ministry of Health expedite the supply roadmap for vaccines under the EPI. Simultaneously, HCDC will continue to ensure proper coordination of the remaining vaccine resources among different localities within the city. Additionally, HCDC will instruct ward and commune health stations to thoroughly review and tightly manage the list of children scheduled for new vaccinations and booster shots to facilitate timely reminders and prompt vaccination once the vaccine supply is restored.

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