The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has confirmed that the number of available vaccines may not meet demand.
Data in a report on drug production and supply in Vietnam shows that in Ho Chi Minh City, remaining vaccines are not enough to cover the immunization needs of citizens in 2015 and 2016.
38,000 doses of the Infanrix Hexa vaccine by GlaxoSmithKline, which protects against six different diseases, have been provided for Vietnam's market, 4,000 of which are for clinical research conducted by the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute. The number of doses remaining for the year is only 16,059.
The number of Varivax vaccines by Merck Sharp & Dohme for supply in 2015 is 166,000 doses. The company is asking for permission from the Ministry of Health to import 170,000 more for 2016. The same vaccine by Sang Pharma numbers 300,000 doses for 2015. These are for the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) and the Pasteur Institute.
Accordingly, doctors have advised people not to wait for vaccines issued at designated immunization points in the city, but to choose the five in one Quinvaxem vaccine from the expanded program on immunization (EPI) to ensure the health of children.
“The diseases in the EPI program are contagious diseases with many knock on effects and that require costly treatment,” said Dr. Truong Huu Khanh, Head of Infection Department, Children's Hospital 1. “If we want it to be effective across the country then people must be vaccinated. If we do well this year but not the next year then the diseases will come back.”
Suppliers must find a way to meet demand. Besides the companies mentioned above, other major vaccine suppliers for Ho Chi Minh City include Sanofi, Zuellig Vietnam, DKSH Vietnam and May Cosmedic.