Associate Professor Tran Ngoc Huu, former director of the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, said the pandemic has made great impact on the nations’ medical systems reducing immunization demand because of required social distancing in the community.
There have been chaos in vaccination during coronavirus pandemic because governments have gathered all its strength and resources for the fight against Covid-19; therefore, vaccination against infectious diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis) and measles has been neglected.
Alongside, parents delayed pre-scheduled vaccinations for fear of Covid-19 spread in medical clinics and they didn’t understand importance of vaccination to prevent dangerous contagious diseases. As a result, this year vaccination rate declined by 10 percent compared to the same period last year, said Dr. Huu.
Meanwhile, Dr. Truong Huu Khanh from the HCMC-based Children Hospital 1 warned that the interruption in vaccinations could increase the rate of infections leading to a "double healthcare burden” besides Covid-19.
According to Dr. Khanh, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and GAVI- the Vaccine Alliance, at least 80 million children below one years old in 68 countries are at risk of contracting infectious diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio due to vaccination disruption due to Covid-19. This will threaten achievements in immunization of countries which have made effort in the battle against infectious diseases with vaccine.
Dr. Huu said that for years, many countries have completed eradication of infectious diseases, such as smallpox, and drastically reduced mortality rates for other diseases, such as pertussis, measles, and diphtheria for years.
For instance, in 1980, all countries in the world eradicated smallpox thanks to successful population immunity. Similarly, nowadays only Pakistan and Afghanistan still have polio patients while wild poliovirus was endemic in more than 125 countries on five continents, paralyzing more than 350,000 children every year without vaccine.
In the context of Covid-19, parents should take their children to hospitals for vaccination for full shots as per set schedule. Especially, parents should pay attention that children must have all basic vaccine shots in early 12 months.
At 2-4 years of age, children should receive all basic vaccines shots to protect them from the following diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine , Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine (HBV), and chickenpox (varicella) vaccine. When a children must go to schools, vaccine will help strengthen a baby's immunity system in new environment.
Noticeably, senior people and adults are still at risk of contracting infectious diseases without immunization of seasonal flu, chickenpox.