The Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health has asked rabies vaccine suppliers and importers to ensure stockpiles are built up to meet increasing demand.
According to rabies vaccine importing facilities, the country needs about 1.2 million doses of the rabies vaccine until the end of this year to address the vaccine shortage.
The administration has ordered vaccination facilities to keep enough of the vaccine in the stock to meet demand for at least one month.
The health ministry has asked for detailed contracts between vaccine suppliers and vaccination facilities. The contract must mention quantity, price of each vaccine type and date of vaccine arrival and clarify the responsibilities of related sides.
The ministry advised vaccination facilities to sign contracts with different suppliers, not only one, to avoid dependence on only one source.
Vaccination facilities should contact with rabies vaccine importing facilities to order the vaccine.
There are four rabies vaccines qualified to be used in Vietnam, namely Abhayrab, Indirab, Speeda and Verorab.
In the first quarter of this year, it was reported that medical facilities were likely to face a shortage of rabies vaccine stockpiles to meet the increasing demand when summer came.
According to the health ministry, 18 people died of rabies in the first four months of this year. In 2017, rabies killed 62 people while the figure for 2016 was 91 people.
The victims mostly were not vaccinated and lived in rural areas where locals have the habit of leaving dogs unleashed or do not have their dogs vaccinated.
There have not been any drugs to treat the infection. Rabies vaccines and rabies immune globulin are recommended for infection prevention.
The World Health Organisation estimates 59,000 people worldwide die from the disease each year.