MEASLES RUBELLA (MR) VACCINATION CAMPAIGN IN VIET NAM On 11 October 2014, Viet Nam will launch its largest, nationwide, measles-rubella (MR) campaign to date, with the aim of reaching 23 million children ages 1-14 across the entire country. The MR vaccination campaign, which lasts through to February 2015, is part of Viet Nam’s commitment to the Measles & Rubella Initiative, a global partnership to ensure that no child dies from measles or is born with congenital rubella syndrome. The Measles & Rubella Initiative is led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Viet Nam has set a goal to achieve measles elimination by 2017. The MR vaccine will be included, free of charge, as part of Viet Nam’s routine, expanded immunization programme for children. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 1. What are measles and rubella? Measles and rubella are infectious respiratory diseases caused by the measles and rubella viruses. Measles and rubella are highly contagious diseases. Children and adults who have not been vaccinated against measles and rubella, or have not contracted the measles and rubella diseases in the past are at high risk of infection. 2. How dangerous are these two diseases? Measles can cause severe complications, such as diarrhea, pneumonia, encephalitis, blindness, malnutrition, and in some cases, death. Rubella is usually a mild disease in children, causing few complications. However, if a pregnant woman is exposed to rubella in her first trimester, it can lead to miscarriage fetal death or the baby may be born with congenital rubella syndrome which can include heart and eye defects, deafness, and delayed development. 3. What can be done to prevent measles and rubella There is no cure for measles and rubella. The MR vaccine is the best protective measure against both diseases. 4. What is the MR vaccine? MR is a combined vaccine to protect against both measles and rubella The MR vaccine used in Viet Nam’s national MR campaign is produced by the Serum Institute in India. The vaccine is pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO), financed by the GAVI Alliance and procured by UNICEF for Viet Nam. The MR vaccine is 95% effective in preventing measles and rubella diseases. The MR vaccine is safe and has been used in many countries in the world. 5. Where, when and who are the children who should get vaccinated? The MR vaccine is provided free of charge to all children ages 1-14 during the national immunization campaign from September 2014-February 2015. During the campaign, the MR vaccine is available at all commune health centres, schools, kindergartens and the outreach immunization spots. Children whose parents have not yet registered a permanent residence can receive free MR vaccine at any commune health centres, school, and outreach immunization spots in their current area of residence. 6. What are possible side effects of the MR vaccine Common side effects following MR vaccine include: mild fever, rash and light swelling and pain at the injection site within 24 hours of immunization. These side effects are normal and usually disappear within in a few days. In almost all of those cases, children will recover within 2-3 days without medical care. Serious adverse events following immunization generally, and MR vaccination specifically, are very rare. 7. What should parents do when they bring a child in for the MR vaccine Make sure your child has eaten prior to vaccination Discuss your child’s current health condition with your healthcare provider. Report any recent illness, and current medication taken, if any. Parents should also report congenital defects, history of premature birth, allergies or any strong reactions to previous vaccinations such as high fever, rash, swollen at the injection site. Ask to see the vaccine that will be administered to your child and discuss possible side effects. Ask how to monitor and care for your child after vaccination. After vaccination, children and their parents must remain at the immunization center for at least 30 minutes for monitoring in the rare event that the child suffers a severe reaction to the vaccine. Parents must monitor their child for side effects for 24 hours (1 day) after vaccination. Mild fever, rash and swelling at injection site are normal and do not require medical attention. Bring your child immediately to the nearest health care provider if he/she develops the following serious side effects: high fever (>39oC), sudden paleness or redness of skin, convulsions or mild fever, rash and swelling at injection site that persist for more than 24 hours after vaccination. 8. Is immunization to measles and rubella guaranteed after vaccination? In almost all cases, children are fully immune to measles and rubella after once vaccine dose. Immunity is lifelong. 9. If a child has already been vaccinated with the two recommended doses of measles vaccine does he/she need the MR vaccine? Children who have received two recommended doses of the measles vaccine as scheduled, are fully protected against measles but not rubella. Children should still get the recommended MR combined vaccine that is being offered in this national immunization campaign to insure immunity against rubella. The additional dose of measles will not have any negative effect on those children who have already had two doses of measles vaccines. 10. If a child has already been vaccinated with the one dose of measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine does he/she need the MR vaccine? If a child has already received one dose of MMR vaccine, he/she should still get the recommended MR combined vaccine that is being offered in this national immunization campaign. This will provide the child with the recommended second dose of measles vaccine to ensure full immunity against the disease. The additional dose of rubella vaccines will not have any negative effect on those children who have already had a prior dose of rubella.