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Over 5,000 Vietnamese front-liners vaccinated against COVID-19

March 13, 2021 | 12:54

5,248 people have been injected with AstraZeneca vaccine 5 days into the vaccination campaign. All are in stable health, no serious reactions recorded so far.

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Over 5,000 Vietnamese front-liners vaccinated against COVID-19
Recipients in Hai Duong are waiting another 30 mins to see if there is any reactions before heading home (Photo: VNE)

To date, 12 provinces and cities have kicked off COVID-19 vaccination in accordance with the Extended Vaccination Program’s regulations. Da Nang, Hoa Binh and Khanh Hoa are the three lastest localities to start vaccine rollout on March 12. The remaining provinces in the prioritized list are also readying for the rollout.

All 5,248 vaccinated individuals are medical personnel who directly treat and take care of COVID-19 patients, those sampling and testing suspected patients, members of contact-tracing teams and COVID-19 community groups.

In details, Hai Duong – the current biggest epicenter – has given the jabs to 2,862 people, Hanoi (163), Hung Yen (138), Bac Ninh (312), Bac Giang (319), Hai Phong (147), Ho Chi Minh city (704), Gia Lai (200), Long An (159), Da Nang (117), Hoa Binh (32), Khanh Hoa (95).

Quang Ninh, Dien Bien, Dong Thap are expected to roll out the first doses next week.

Initial reports from vaccination sites, on March 12, one recipient developed grade 2 anaphylaxis 30 mins after the injection. The person got immediate treatment and is in stable health condition now.

All those experiencing reactions post-vaccination in Vietnam are “in stable condition after one day”, Professor Dang Duc Anh, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said at the meeting of the Steering Committee for COVID-19 prevention and control Friday afternoon.

“The rollout must comply with the strict, safe and effective procedures. Recipients will be monitored on spot for another 30 mins after receiving the jab”, Deputy Health Minister Tran Van Thuan was quoted by VNE as saying.

Those displaying mild reactions after getting injected will have their health monitored at the medical facility in the next 24 hours. Any abnormal reactions detected at home must be immediately reported to health authorities.

According to the MOH, localities have planned and well-prepared prior to the vaccination. All medical staff got in-depth training on how to use, vaccinate and store AstraZeneca vaccine. So far, the procedure at all vaccination sites is under close supervision and support of the MOH and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE).

“This is the process closely directed by the Health Ministry”, Thuan said.

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Deputy Health Minister Tran Van Thuan (Photo: Bao Lao Dong)

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was studied and developed by Oxford University, and granted WHO’s authorization for emergency use on February 15.

The first batch of 117,600 AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Vietnam on February 2 following the successful negotiation of 30 million doses between Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC) and AstraZeneca firm.

The batch, produced by South Korean firm SK Bioscience, is being kept in VNVC cold storage to be distributed to 13 cities and provinces with recent coronavirus outbreaks. While exact fees have yet 0 be disclosed, a $30 million deposit as per the firm's purchase contract has been confirmed.

VNVC and AstraZeneca first began negotiations back in the second quarter of 2020, when the AstraZeneca vaccine had entered its third phase of human trials. For the past six months, VNVC has been developing its own cold chain and storage equipment to house the vaccines, besides training personnel on how to handle them properly, VNE reported. Its handover means the ministry will actively handle the vaccination process.

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A medical staff prepares to inject the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for frontline workers at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hanoi, March 8 2021. (Photo: VNE)

Besides the 30 million doses ordered, Vietnam would receive an additional 4.1 million, also from AstraZeneca, via global vaccine access mechanism Covax by April. Another 25.9 million doses would be transported to Vietnam, also through Covax, between August and November.

Vietnam is also negotiating with other vaccine manufacturers in the U.S., Russia and some other countries to ensure it could obtain a total of 150 million doses this year to cover 70 percent of its population.

The coronavirus tally so far in Vietnam is 2,550, with 35 deaths reported.

The Decision details the 11 groups of people prioritized to receive Covid-19 vaccine shots secured through the COVAX Facility, including:

- Medical staff.

- Disease prevention and control staff (e.g. steering committees at all levels, staff working at quarantine zones, reporters, etc.).

- Diplomatic, customs staff and immigration officers.

- Military forces.

- Police.

- Teachers.

- People aged more than 65 years.

- Group of staff providing essential services, such as aviation, transport, tourism; electricity and water supply, etc.

- People with chronic conditions.

- People wishing to take business trips, study or work abroad.

- People living in epidemic hit areas that are identified based on epidemiologic studies.

The Decision No. 1210/QD-TTg is entering into force as of the signature date.

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Da Nang held the first injections of Covid-19 vaccines for medical staff on the morning of March 12.

Jasmine Le