A short supply of 5-in-1 pediatric vaccine Pentaxim has prompted hundreds of parents in Hanoi to spend their night in front of an immunization station, to secure one of the 300 available doses for their children.
Despite the cold weather, many parents started to line up around 1 a.m. on Thursday at the Ministry of Health's vaccine institute so that they could book and pay in advance for the shots, to be given to their children next month.
The vaccine, made by French drugmaker Sanofi, is included in the national immunization program to protect children against five childhood diseases of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type B.
It has been out of stock in local hospitals for months.
The Health Ministry announced on Monday that 300 doses of the vaccine had reached the city and would be sold to earliest buyers from Thursday.
In the announcement, the ministry said that the queuing time would be from 5:30 a.m.
However, Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported that there were already more than 200 people waiting at 4 a.m.
The parents had to write down their names, one by one, and wait until 8 a.m. for the list to be officially “approved”.
The number of names had reportedly reached 300 by 5 a.m. Hundreds of latecomers had to go home much to their chagrin.
Long queues are common in the capital city where many parents are willing to spend sleepless nights trying to secure good healthcare or education services for their children.
Parents elbow one another to put their names down in a waiting list to have their children vaccinated next month.