Millions of children in Vietnam protected by vaccination over 40 years: UN agencies

(VOVWORLD) - Millions of children in Vietnam have been protected by immunization over the past 40 years, said the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF offices in Vietnam on Thursday when they mark the World Immunization Week from April 24-30.
Millions of children in Vietnam protected by vaccination over 40 years: UN agencies - ảnh 1Illustrative photo (Photo: VNA)

The number of children dying from vaccine-preventable causes in Vietnam has been reduced significantly since 1981, when the country introduced the national immunization program – the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) – with the aim to ensure that every child, everywhere in Vietnam can receive the lifesaving protection of routine immunizations, the two UN agencies said in their joint media release issued on Thursday.

Since the start of the program, Vietnam has eradicated smallpox and polio, eliminated neonatal tetanus, and dramatically reduced other vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, diphtheria, pertussis, and Japanese encephalitis, by immunizing millions of children.

According to WHO and UNICEF, vaccines are one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Globally, in the last 50 years alone, vaccines have saved nearly 154 million lives (more than 3 million a year) with more children now living to see their first birthday and beyond than at any other time in human history.

UNICEF Vietnam Representative Rana Flowers said that Vietnam’s immunization program has been instrumental in saving children’s lives and alleviating the devastating impact of vaccine-preventable diseases on families, communities and the country as a whole for over 40 years. 
"Looking forward, we strongly encourage the Government of Vietnam to sustain this tremendous achievement, so that every child has the opportunity to survive, thrive and lead a healthy life," she said.
In Vietnam, vaccines covered by the program are free for all children.