Quinvaxem vaccine to be administered again

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The five-in-one Quinvaxem, whose use has been suspended throughout Vietnam by Ministry of Health since May 4, will be again given to Vietnamese infants nationwide beginning in October, health ministry officials said Tuesday.

The resumption comes after WHO tests in June revealed no problems with the vaccine.

Nguyen Van Binh, director of the General Department of Preventive Medicine, said about two million babies needed but could not receive the shots after Quinvaxem use was suspended due to the deaths of five babies after Quinvaxem shots early this year.

When the vaccine is reused, the number of babies needing to be vaccinated may be higher than usual, so vaccination centers must prepare their schedules to serve the babies sufficiently and safely, Binh said.

But he said each vaccination center is only allowed to receive a maximum of 50 babies during a working session so that doctors can have time for examinations before administering vaccine shots, and give their parents advice for taking care of the children after vaccination.

He said from October, district hospitals and health centers would set up mobile emergency forces to help ward-level vaccination centers on scheduled vaccination days.

Nguyen Tran Hien, director of the National Extended Vaccination Program, said that doctors at the centers must perform more thorough examinations to identify cases in which the vaccine shots should be contraindicated or suspended due to babies' health conditions.

Hien said vaccination centers in many wards have increased their vaccination staff, but the centers at the ward level will have to ask  doctors from municipal centers to help with the examinations on scheduled vaccination days.

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He said more vaccination centers will be established in wards where too many babies need vaccinating to prevent overload.

As many as 1.5 million South Korean-made Quinvaxem doses arrived in Vietnam and are being examined before being distributed for the vaccination starting October 1, he said. Another 1.5 million doses will be imported soon. 

According to the National Extended Vaccination Program, Quinvaxem shots are scheduled to be given to babies when they are two, three and four months old. The vaccine is supposed to protect humans from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B and haemophilus influenzae type B.

The babies who needed but were not vaccinated during the suspension time will continue receiving the rest of their shots.

The program warns that parents should bring their children to the nearest hospital or health center if they have a high fever (over 39 degrees Centigrade), convulsions, cyanosis, breathing difficulties, or exhaustion after their injections.

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