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Vietnam kicks off COVID-19 vaccination today

March 08, 2021 | 12:28

The very first jabs of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are administered to medical and other front-line workers Monday morning in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Duong.

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Vietnam begins COVID 19 vaccination today
Three boxes of AstraZeneca vaccines were transported to Ho Chi Minh Tropical Hospital Monday morning (Photo: VNE)

In Ho Chi Minh City, three boxes of vaccines (refrigerated at 2-8 degrees Celcius) were transported from the Vietnam Vaccine JSC’s super-cold storage to Ho Chi Minh Tropical Hospital at 7 am. 100 doctors and nurses on the prioritized list are expected to get the jabs in the morning.

“I’m so worried and could barely sleep last night. I had a dream that all my family members get the jab today. Hopefully, all Vietnamese people will soon be inoculated against the novel virus”, Du Le Thanh Xuan, 28, first doctor in Ho Chi Minh Tropical Hospital to be administered, told VNE.

Meanwhile in Hanoi, frontline workers at National Hospital for Tropical Diseases are the first to be granted such priority.

Dr. Vu Minh Dien, deputy director of the hospital’s center for pandemic prevention and vaccination, said 420 medical personnel would be immunized in the first phase.

"If possible, we will vaccinate all the hospital staff, but because the vaccine supply is limited and must be distributed to many other provinces, the highest priority is given to those who have direct contact with Covid patients and some medical staff in charge of screening patients."

Vietnam begins COVID 19 vaccination today
Staff bringing vaccines to National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi (Photo: VNE)

Hai Duong - the current biggest COVID-19 hotspot in the country with 707 cases registered so far, got 33,000 doses meant for medical staff and other frontline workers.

As one of the first people to be administered with AstraZeneca vaccine in Hai Duong, Nguyen Thi Hue, 34, a member of the contact tracing team in Tan Viet Commune, told VNE that she was confident that the vaccine would yield good results.

Recipients must declare to authorities about the medical history including any acute or chronic diseases or chemotherapy they had, as well as the history of allergy or anaphylaxis. They had to then sign a Covid-19 vaccination consent form. All will be monitored for another 30 mins post-vaccination over possible reactions such as pain at the injection site, headache, nausea, chills, fever, etc.

Vietnam begins COVID 19 vaccination today
Medical personnel on prioritized list entering the vaccination site in Hai Duong (Photo: VNE)
Vietnam begins COVID 19 vaccination today
Nguyen Thi Hue, a medical worker in Hai Duong Province, is injected with AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, March 8, 2021. (Photo: VNE)

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long warned that the vaccine does not guarantee 100 percent immunity against Covid-19.

According to AstraZeneca, it is 76 percent effective, increasing to 81 percent after the second shot. The recipients are set to get the second dose after 12 weeks.

Long went on to stress the need for everyone to continue complying with the pandemic prevention protocol.

The first batch of 117,600 vaccine doses arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on a flight from Seoul on February 23, and after evaluating its quality, the health ministry approved the vaccination.

In April Vietnam will get another 1.3 million doses through Covax, a global mechanism for developing, manufacturing and procuring Covid-19 vaccines.

While the production of domestic vaccines is underway, the government has speeded up foreign procurement to inoculate prioritized groups.

It is negotiating with vaccine manufacturers in the U.S., Russia and some other countries to ensure it can obtain a total 150 million doses to cover 70 percent of the country’s population this year.

It has also approved the use of Moderna and Sputnik V vaccines, VNE reported.

This 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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