A health worker vaccinates a senior in Tiền Giang Province’s Chợ Gạo District. The Mekong Delta province is speeding up COVID-19 vaccination of people at high risk of infection. — VNA/VNS Photo Hữu Chí
MEKONG DELTA — The COVID-19 vaccination rate for people aged 18 and above in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta is less than 30 per cent.
The region has 12 provinces and a city with a total population of around 20 million, or nearly a fifth of the country's population.
The main cause for the low vaccination rate is a shortage of vaccines, a global problem so far.
The region expected to be allotted nearly 22 million doses based on Ministry of Health announcements, but has only received 6.6 million doses.
Of them, more than 2.6 million doses went to COVID hotspot Long An Province.
Long An has vaccinated 1.5 million people, or 98 per cent of its adult population, with 41 per cent being fully vaccinated.
It is followed by Tiền Giang and Bến Tre with 50 per cent and 39.4 per cent, but only 10 per cent in the two places are fully vaccinated.
Cà Mau has the lowest vaccination rate at 13.9 per cent.
The rate of adults receiving the second dose of vaccine is very low at under 10 per cent in Bạc Liêu, Đồng Tháp and Vĩnh Long.
In Cần Thơ city, an economic hub, the rate is only 7.7 per cent.
The city received 420,000 doses and has vaccinated 24.8 per cent of its population.
Much of the delta has received thousands of people returning to their hometowns by motorbike from COVID-hit localities like HCM City.
But the lack of pandemic prevention measures by local authorities means the returnees pose a high risk of spreading the disease.
They are also putting great pressure on local medical and quarantine facilities, and authorities are using schools for quarantine.
Dozens of COVID-positive cases have been detected among them so far.
Dương Tấn Hiển, deputy chairman of the Cần Thơ People’s Committee, said 500,000 doses have been allotted, but the city needs another one million to achieve the 95 per cent vaccination rate ordered by the prime minister.
Vaccination will be prioritised for workers at industrial parks, production facilities, trading, service establishments, and small household businesses, teachers and students.
Many factories are set to resume operations.
“If vaccines are not enough for workers, it will be very difficult to resume safe production,” Hiển said.
The city hopes to give 80 per cent of people aged 50 and above at least one dose by the end of this month.
Đoàn Tấn Bửu, deputy chairman of the Đồng Tháp Province People’s Committee, said the ministry should consider giving more vaccines to his province to immunise returnees. — VNS