With immunization one of the most cost-effective public health interventions, UNICEF is helping Viet Nam protect children from illness and disability.
Vaccines keep children alive and healthy by protecting them against disease. In Viet Nam, immunization has saved millions of lives and protected countless children from illness and disability. The country’s national Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), with UNICEF support, has led to the successful eradication of polio, elimination of neonatal tetanus and control of measles. In the last 25 years, vaccines have protected 6.7 million Vietnamese children and prevented 42,000 deaths from deadly childhood diseases such as diphtheria, pertussis, polio and tetanus.
Despite these achievements, the EPI today faces newly emerging challenges to protect these hard-won gains and reach communities with low immunization rates. Coverage in mountainous, remote and ethnic minority-populated areas remains low. There are also concerns about ‘vaccine hesitancy’ - a mistrust of immunization among some parents, fuelled by myths and misinformation. This erosion in public confidence commonly occurs after rare cases of ‘adverse events following immunization’, with negative media stories erroneously linking cases of child deaths to immunization without the full facts.
Immunization is essential to protecting children, yet coverage remains low in mountainous, remote and ethnic minority-populated areas.
UNICEF, as a trusted and committed partner, is continuing to support health authorities and local health workers to ensure all children in Viet Nam benefit from life-saving vaccines. To help achieve this, we are working to build and maintain a strong national immunization supply chain system to ensure the quality and supply of vaccines through effective evaluation and management.
We also work closely with partners to equip parents and communities with the knowledge they need to protect their children, with training of frontline health workers on how to inform families about the benefits of immunization. This outreach is critically important to build and retain public trust to combat ‘vaccine hesitancy’, especially during cases of ‘adverse events following immunization’ and media misreporting.
Immunization is also a wise financial investment - with every $1 invested in immunization returning an estimated $16 in healthcare savings and increased economic productivity.