Vietnam has suspended the administration of an infant vaccine nationwide after hundreds of parents, trying to secure shots for their children, caused a chaotic scene in front of a medical center in Hanoi.
Tran Dac Phu, head of the Preventive Health Department at the health ministry, has ordered all medical centers to reschedule immunization plans and come up with a better system for parents to register for the Pentaxim vaccine.
Nearly 600 parents waited outside a medical center at 182 Luong The Vinh in Thanh Xuan District on Thursday morning, many since 9 p.m. the previous night although the center only had 140 shots available.
The management had to call the police to quell the chaos before it decided to ask all the parents to leave.
Pentaxim, made by French company Sanofi Pasteur, is administered to protect children aged two months upward against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenza type B. A shot costs around $30.
The demand for the vaccine, whose supply is limited in developing countries like Vietnam, has surged recently as its free alternative Quinvaxem has lost much of the public trust following the deaths of at least 20 infants since late 2012.
The latter is a WHO prequalified drug and has been distributed in Vietnam by Berna Biotech Korea Corp since 2010 under a national immunization program.
Many parents wait outside the center at 182 Luong The Vinh in Thanh Xuan District from 9 p.m. the previous night to secure a shot for their babies.
The vaccination was scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. and there are only 140 shots available, but more than 500 parents were already waiting outside the center before then.
A mother falls fainted. Some parents have traveled dozens of kilometers from other northern provinces from the previous night.
A father expresses frustration as a representative of the center informed the parents that it could not deal with the chaos and had to delay the vaccination.
Over the past months some parents took their infants overseas while others decided not to immunize their children at all.