Viet Nam is certified to produce vaccines for the world



Ha Noi, 22 June 2015 - One of the most cost effective health investments, immunization saves up to three million lives a year globally. Nevertheless, some parents still voice concerns about the safety and quality of vaccines.

Vaccines have been wrongly blamed for several deaths in Viet Nam in recent years, causing some parents to avoid vaccinating their children. In all, thousands of children did not receive life-saving, time- tested vaccines, leaving them vulnerable to pneumonia, polio, measles and other deadly but preventable diseases.

Now Viet Nam has a fully-equipped national regulatory system that ensures the safety and effectiveness of vaccines they produce and use. On 22 June 2015, WHO formally certified Viet Nam's accomplishment, after an extensive evaluation with independent experts in April.

Vaccines are made from inactivated or weakened germs, such as viruses and bacteria. They help develop the body's immunity against these diseases. Sometimes, however, the body’s natural reaction includes side effects, such as fever and pain, in the course of developing immunity.

Successful immunization programmes depend on having safe and effective vaccines. For this reason, countries set up regulatory systems to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of vaccines. WHO provides technical support to strengthen these regulatory systems.

Viet Nam brings the number of vaccine-producing countries in the Western Pacific Region to five that have met the WHO global criteria for quality oversight of vaccine production.

This is critical because Viet Nam produces about a dozen vaccines for domestic use. Now the country is fully equipped to execute marketing authorization, product evaluation, manufacturing inspection, quality control and monitoring of efficacy and safety of vaccines available in the country.

What's more, domestic vaccine manufacturers in Viet Nam now have the opportunity to supply their products globally, provided they undergo WHO prequalification.

The prequalification process includes an independent expert appraisal of the quality, safety and efficacy of vaccines for purchase by United Nations agencies. The process ensures that vaccines are suitable for the intended market and meet the needs of national immunization programmes.

Like Viet Nam, many developing countries have the capacity to produce affordable vaccines of assured quality for global use. Due to insufficient regulatory capacity, however, few exploit this opportunity.

Since the first WHO assessment in 2001, the Government of Viet Nam has worked long and hard to become the 37th country in the world to be certified as having a functional regulatory system for vaccines.

Their accomplishment should serve as an inspiration to other countries in the Region and the world.

WHO continues supporting countries to strengthen national regulatory systems to ensure that vaccines of assured quality are accessible to more people than ever before.

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