Vietnam spends over US$32 million on rabies vaccine, anti-rabies serum

Vietnam spends about VND800 billion (US$32,314,933) on rabies vaccine and anti-rabies serum,  said Director Hoang Minh Duc of the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Lien Huong at the conference

Director Hoang Minh Duc revealed the information at a virtual meeting organized by the Ministry of Health in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on strengthening the prevention and control of diseases transmitted from animals to humans in 2024.

At the conference, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Lien Huong stated that in recent years, thanks to the close coordination between the health sector and the agricultural sector, along with the participation of authorities at all levels, zoonotic diseases transmitting from animals to humans have been basically controlled.

However, from 2022 until now, some diseases such as bird flu and rabies have increased again. No case of bird flu was reported in more than 8 years; however, from 2022 to now, 2 cases have been recorded including 1 death over the weekend in Khanh Hoa Province.

Along with that, rabies recorded a very high number of deaths up to 100 percent. For instance, there were 82 deaths in 2023 while in the first 3 months of 2024 alone, 27 people died from rabies, an increase of 16 cases compared to the same period last year.

Talking more about the evolution of animal pathogens into human pathogens, Director Hoang Minh Duc said that up to 75 percent of dangerous and emerging diseases are diseases transmitted from animals to humans or having genetic origins from animal diseases. In Vietnam, five zoonotic diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza, rabies, anthrax, streptococcus and jaundice are high on the list of priority for prevention.

Among these epidemics, rabies is on the rise and is very complicated. In just the first 3 months of this year, 16/63 provinces and cities had cases of rabies in humans, with 27 deaths. The Central region has the highest number of deaths (9 cases). In the South, the number of people receiving vaccines against rabies is the highest in the country (143,000 people).

According to Mr. Hoang Minh Duc, rabies not only causes high mortality in humans but also causes heavy economic losses. Statistically, each year, Vietnam spends about VND 800 billion on rabies vaccine and anti-rabies serum, not to mention the cost of treating wounds caused by dogs and cats.

Mr. Duc added that the majority of people who succumbed to rabies are not vaccinated because they didn’t view rabies with caution and they have difficulty in accessing vaccines, especially the poor and people in remote areas because the price of rabies vaccination is quite expensive from VND1,2 million to VND1,5 million a dose.

In addition, foreign companies reduce the supply of rabies vaccines because of low profits, so there is a shortage of vaccines at some times.

The Prime Minister has just issued a telegram requesting increased strict handling of violations of legal regulations in raising and managing dogs and cats. This includes a request to investigate, prosecute, and resolutely handle cases of violators in raising and managing dogs and cats leading to serious consequences.

At the conference, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien emphasized that localities strictly implement the PM’s instructions.

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