Vietnam mulls major rubella vaccination plan

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A plan to have all Vietnamese women aged 15 to 35 years vaccinated against German measles, or rubella, has been submitted to the Ministry of Health, the VnExpress newswire reported Thursday.

 

Under the plan prepared by the ministry's National Institute of Hygiene Epidemiology with support from the World Health Organization, it will cost Vietnam some VND300 billion (US$14.58 million) a year to vaccinate all women in the targeted age group.

 

Nguyen Tran Hien, chief of the institute, said due to the high cost, they have made plans to produce measles-rubella vaccines, and proposed to "socialize" the vaccination by asking the women or their employers to contribute part of the cost.

 

The institute is also planning a program to observe rubella outbreaks and the congenital rubella syndrome at several provinces that have many cases, the newswire reported.

 

The syndrome is passed on by mothers to their children when they are infected with the disease during pregnancy. While rubella is a mild disease that usually lasts one to three days, the syndrome can entail a range of serious incurable illnesses like visual and hearing impairments, and heart diseases, the VnExpress report said.

 

Currently rubella isn't included in the national vaccination program due to its rarity, it said.

 

However, concerned agencies are taking action as hundreds of people, including pregnant women and children, have been reported to be inflicted with the disease across the country since the beginning of this year, according to the news source.

 

It quoted Hien as saying initial studies showed that the number of cases was higher than average numbers recorded over the past five years.

 

The number of children with the congenital rubella syndrome is also on increase, he said.

 

Many infected pregnant women have had to have abortions, the report noted.

 

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