|People in Hà Nội get their COVID-19 vaccinations on August 2. VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết|
HÀ NỘI — Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long repeatedly urged localities nationwide to ramp up vaccination efforts, complaining that the vaccination rollouts were “too slow” in many places.
Up to Tuesday morning, more than 6.95 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Việt Nam and 712,864 people have received two shots.
Monday saw the highest number of doses administered in a day with nearly 538,500 jabs given. During the past week, the number of doses administered daily has ranged from 200,000 to 400,000.
The country planned to vaccinate at least 50 per cent of the adult population (18 years old and above) within 2021 and 70 per cent of the entire population of nearly 98 million by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
In an urgent message that the minister sent to chairpersons of cities/provinces People’s Committee on Monday, he emphasised the importance of ramping up vaccination at this time and said Việt Nam expects to receive many more vaccines late this year.
To ramp up vaccination drives and increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the country, Long asked localities to offer vaccines to all people aged above 18 years old with priority given to people working in the front line, elderly people or those having underlying health conditions.
“There is no limit on the number of people getting vaccinated in a day to make full use of the capacity that a vaccination site can provide,” he said.
Local authorities are now allowed to decide the health monitoring time for people after getting the vaccines instead of a compulsory 30 minutes of sitting at the vaccination sites.
The move is expected to help vaccination sites receive more people and ensure safe person-to-person distance.
Those who have to wait for their vaccination will be monitored and arrangements will be made for them to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
The Ministry of Health also noted in locked-down areas, local authorities could arrange appropriate fixed or mobile vaccination sites, so people would not have to travel to other areas for vaccination.
“Vaccination is now a priority and urgent task for localities,” the minister emphasised.
However, he admitted that some localities have delayed implementing vaccination drives because they were too slow in transferring vaccines to their storehouses.
Meanwhile, other localities were too cautious in delivering vaccine shots as they only opened vaccination sites in hospitals and health facilities.
“It’s OK to set up mobile vaccination stations as long as safe distance among people is ensured,” he said, adding that the Health Ministry would support localities to set up such mobile vaccination stations if asked.
“Vaccination drives must be rolled out as soon as possible,” Long said, adding that from October to December this year, Việt Nam could receive up to 47-50 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Storage for a large volume of vaccines is also an issue of concern in Việt Nam.
The minister asked localities nationwide to review their capacity to store vaccines, especially their cooling systems with temperatures from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
“Many localities do not have enough facilities to store vaccines. The Health Ministry has provided them with information about vaccine doses that are expected between now and the end of the year so that provinces can prepare proper storage for their allocation," the minister said.
Localities that failed to ensure vaccination progress would have their vaccines transferred to other localities. — VNS