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Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long told a cabinet meeting held on March 17 with localities nationwide that control of the COVID-19 pandemic depends heavily on the development and rollout of vaccines. However, the supply of imported vaccines currently remains limited, with locally-produced COVID-19 vaccines not set to be used until 2022.
In line with this, the Ministry of Health recommends the continued use of simple, economical, and effective anti-pandemic measures that are suitable for the current situation.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long speaks at the meeting. Photo: VOV
Referring to reactions detected following the AstraZeneca vaccination as a matter of public concern, Minister Long stated that a total of 20,695 medical and other frontline workers nationwide have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of March 16.
Of the total, 4,078 cases recorded common reactions after injection. Only five people had a severe reaction of degree two anaphylaxis and one case of degree three anaphylaxis. These cases were handled in a prompt manner, with all recipients now in a stable health condition, VOV reported.
With regard to progress in terms of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Minister Long said that the Ministry of Health has successfully submitted a dossier to the COVAX Facility Program, with the scheme set to provide free vaccines and vaccination supplies in the form of approximately 30 million doses. This will see COVAX supply the country with the first batch of roughly 4.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by May.
A medical worker handles samples for COVID-19 testing. Photo: VNA
The Ministry of Health is also urgently working alongside COVAX in order to accelerate the supply of vaccines to the country.
With regard to the other supply sources, the Ministry of Health will continue to negotiate with other companies in order to diversify supplies. It is also working alongside Pfizer in the hope of receiving 30 million doses from the manufacturer over the course of this year.
Furthermore, the Ministry is also negotiating on purchasing vaccines from manufacturers in the United States such as Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, alongside the Russian Investment Fund.
Along with imported vaccine sources, homegrown vaccines, including Nanocovax developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Company, moved onto the second phase of human clinical trials on February 26 and the Covivac vaccine developed by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) initially began clinical trials on March 15.
A medical staff in Hanoi (R) receives her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, March 9, 2021. Photo: VnExpress.
In a report sent to the Government on COVID-19 prevention and control over the past year, Minister Long said that the pandemic will continue with complicated developments and may last for the next one to two years. This is largely due to the pandemic not showing signs of abating in Europe, Asia, or America, although many countries are speeding up their respective vaccination campaigns.
"Vietnam has basically contained the pandemic as it prevented it from spreading widely in the community. However, the risk of fresh outbreaks is always present, especially in big cities with a high population density and local transmission due to illegal entry," said Minister Long.
The latest outbreak in Hai Duong and 12 provinces and cities has been successfully controlled. Indeed, the Vietnamese government also adopted timely and proper policies aimed at stepping up support for businesses and people to overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country has also become a bright spot in meeting the dual goal of pandemic prevention and control and socio-economic development, the Health Minister added.
As of March 17, the number of Covid-19 vaccine recipients in Vietnam reached over 20,695.
The vaccine has been given to people in 12 provinces and cities including Hai Duong, Hanoi, Hung Yen, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, Gia Lai, Long An, Da Nang, Hoa Binh, and Khanh Hoa, Vnexpress reported.
The prioritized groups receiving the vaccine are medical workers directly treating Covid-19 patients, those involve in taking samples, testing, contact tracing, members of Covid-19 community groups, and members of the Steering Committees for disease prevention and control.
Vietnam recorded seven new COVID-19 cases, including five imported, in the past 12 hours to 6 pm on March 17, according to the Ministry of Health.
The five imported cases were quarantined right upon their arrival, while two others were reported in the northern province of Hai Duong.
The new patients brought the country’s total count to 2,567, including 1,599 domestically-transmitted cases.
According to the Medical Examination and Treatment Department under the Ministry of Health, 40 more patients were given the all-clear, bringing the total recoveries to 2,198. The fatalities remained at 35.
Among the active patients undergoing treatment, 37 tested negative for the virus once, 18 twice, and 63 thrice.
As many as 36,923 people who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are being quarantined across the country, including 496 in hospitals, 17,396 in state-designated establishments, and 19,031 at their residences.
On March 16, more 4,260 people in Vietnam were administered the Covid-19 vaccine, raising the tally of recipients to 20,695.
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