Overview of Vietnam ageing landscape
From 2020 to 2050, the population of adults aged 65 and above in Vietnam is projected to grow to 20.5%, meaning that one out of every five people is expected to be aged 65 and above. As a result, the old-age dependency ratio is expected to triple from 12.6 to 36.1 old-age persons per 100 working age persons.[i]
Vietnam has made efforts to adapt and address the challenges brought about by an ageing population. In the country’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy (2011 – 2020), Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016 – 2020) and National Strategy of Social Security (2011 – 2020), healthcare provisions have been made for older adults, including building up comprehensive security mechanisms, healthcare and social assistance, as well as better addressing the economic, social and health risks of older adults.[ii]
Tracking the progress of Vietnam healthy ageing and life-course immunisation agenda
While the Vietnamese government has plans to include influenza vaccines in the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) from 2030 under Resolution No. 104 of the Government[iii], there is an opportunity to ensure that vulnerable groups, including the elderly, are covered under this plan in the immediate.
Current policies in Vietnam are focused on caring for and promoting the role of older adults in a societal context. These include the National Action Program for the Vietnamese Elderly 2012–2020, which aims to enhance both physical and mental health for older adults. However, because life-course immunisation is not yet recognised, these policies do not include provisions for vaccination.
Key challenges and solutions
At a 2022 roundtable discussion among various stakeholders in Vietnam, supported by Ageing Asia and Sanofi, experts discussed the key challenges and solutions including:
Awareness and Education
Awareness and understanding of the benefits of vaccination and the impact and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases remain low among the public, compounded by low advocacy from healthcare professionals.
Financing immunisation across the life-course
There are high out-of-pocket vaccine costs for individuals as adult vaccines are not covered under the social health insurance or the EPI. There also remains a lack of consensus around how vaccines should be funded, either through health insurance of social protection funds.
Vietnam Key Takeaways – ‘The Decade of Healthy Ageing in ASEAN: Role of Life-course Immunisation’
Vietnam Key Takeaways and Action Plan – ‘Healthy Ageing and Life-course Immunisation Policy Dialogue’
[ii] Ageing Asia. 2020. 4th Asia Pacific Silver Economy Business Opportunities Report.
[iii] Vietnam Plus. 2022. Four more vaccines to be included in Expanded Immunisation Programme. Available: https://en.vietnamplus.vn/four-more-vaccines-to-be-included-in-expanded-immunisation-programme/235669.vnp [Accessed August 2022].