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Vaccine shots ready for 13 localities with Covid-19 outbreaks in Vietnam

March 07, 2021 | 11:08

On Saturday, the Health Ministry rolled out an inoculation schedule until 2022 that thirteen provinces and cities with Covid-19 outbreaks would be first to given vaccination until April, ensuring health and safety of the citizens.

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A volunteer is injected with Nanocovax, a Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccine, as part of its second phase of human trials, February 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Duong, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hung Yen, Hoa Binh, Gia Lai, Binh Duong, Dien Bien and Ha Giang would receive around 117,600 vaccine doses by AstraZeneca, delivered to Vietnam last month. First prioritized are those on the frontline of the coronavirus fight, including medical workers treating Covid-19 patients, officials commandeering the Covid-19 fight, contact tracers, reporters and the army, according to VnExpress.

Those who have been vaccinated would be monitored through their digital health profiles, and would receive a digital certification proving they have been inoculated.

Future vaccination schedules would be rolled out in accordance with the quantity of batches available, overseen by the health ministry. Besides cities and provinces with outbreaks, densely populated areas with multiple industrial complexes and traffic routes would also be prioritized for Covid-19 vaccination, according to the schedule.

The central government's budget would be used to buy vaccines and relevant equipment like syringes, as well as for transportation and storing. Localities could also use their own budget for the same purposes.

On Saturday, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the first vaccine shots would be reserved for the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, its counterpart in HCMC and northern Hai Duong Province, currently Vietnam's biggest Covid-19 hotspot.

"There are few vaccine doses, so it's impossible to distribute them to all 63 cities and provinces," he said, adding that besides the aforementioned locations, some other medical facilities treating Covid-19 patients would receive some vaccine shots first too.

The exact number of vaccine doses to be distributed to these locations has yet to be confirmed.

Vietnam expects to begin vaccinating prioritized groups starting next Monday with the first batch of 117,600 AstraZeneca vaccine doses.

The country also expects to receive around 150 million vaccine doses by next year to cover 70 percent of its population. The vaccine doses, to be divided into seven batches, would be from British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, global vaccine access mechanism Covax, and domestic sources.

Viet Nam to begin COVID-19 vaccination next Monday

Viet Nam sets to begin COVID-19 vaccinations on March 8, said Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long at the meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Friday, according to VGP News.

The vaccine will be administered first to health workers at 18 medical establishments where COVID-19 patients are being treated and the coronavirus-hit areas, Long added.

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Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long speaks at the meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, Ha Noi, March 5, 2021. Photo: VGP

He said it is difficult to have enough vaccine supply from foreign partners, thus the nation needs to focus on accelerating research and development of homegrown vaccines.

The Ministry expected to receive 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2021, half of which has been committed by the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX) program.

The remaining 30 million doses have been agreed upon by the Health Ministry and the UK-based AstraZeneca company.

The first batch of 117,600 Oxford/AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Ho Chi Minh City-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport on February 24.

Last month, the Government issued Resolution No. 21/NQ-CP on purchase and use of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.

Under the Resolution, the Government assigned the Ministry of Health to take prime responsibility and coordinate with relevant ministries, agencies and localities in purchasing, receiving donated vaccines and using the vaccines.

Resolution specifies priority groups and areas subject to free vaccination as follows:

For priority groups:

+ Front liners: Healthcare workers, those who join COVID-19 prevention and control work (members of steering committees for COVID-19 prevention and control at all levels, staff at designated quarantine sites, those who carry out contract tracing and epidemiological investigations, volunteers, reporters among others), military and public security forces

+ Vietnamese diplomats, customs and immigration officers

+ Essential service workers in such sectors like aviation, transport, tourism, electricity and water supply, etc

+ Teachers and those who work at education and training facilities, those who work at State agencies and have regular contact with various people

+ People with chronic illnesses, people aged above 65

+ Residents in pandemic-hit areas

+ Poor people, policy beneficiaries

+ Those who will be sent abroad for learning and working

+ Other people decided by the Ministry of Health depending on COVID-19 situation

For priority areas

Priority will be given to coronavirus-hit provinces and cities.

In a locality, those in the pandemic-hit areas will be vaccinated first.

So far, Viet Nam has confirmed 2,421 COVID-19 infection cases, including 827 local cases since January 27, 2021 when the third wave of local transmissions emerged.

Vietnam's new Covid-19 cases

Hai Duong Province, Vietnam’s biggest Covid-19 hotspot, reported six new Covid-19 cases Saturday night, raising its community transmission tally to 707 in over a month, according to VnExpress.

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A doctor at a hospital treating Covid-19 patients in Hai Duong Province, February 2021. Photo courtery of the Ministry of Health.

All new patients, tagged from 2502-2507, are F1 of previously confirmed cases in Kim Thanh District and Kinh Mon Town in the northern province, around 60 kilometers to the east of Hanoi. They had already been isolated following contact tracing protocol and had tested positive for the novel coronavirus when in quarantine.

On Saturday alone, Vietnam has recorded 13 new infections, including 12 in hotspot Hai Duong and one imported case.

Vietnam, a country of 98 million people, has reported 891 community transmissions in 13 cities and provinces during the ongoing outbreak that returned to the country on Jan. 28 after a 55-day clean streak.

Prioritized groups will be injected with the first batch of 117,600 AstraZeneca vaccines next Monday after quality checks had been passed, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said.

Long added the first vaccine shots would be reserved for the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, its counterpart in Ho Chi Minh City and northern Hai Duong Province.

The exact number of vaccine doses to be distributed to these locations has yet to be confirmed.

Vietnam has registered 2,507 Covid-19 cases and 35 deaths so far.

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Chau Polly