|Police officers were among the frontline workers to receive booster vaccine shots on Friday as HCM City began the booster drive. — VNA/VNS Photo Thu Hương|
HCM CITY — HCM City on Friday began administering the third COVID-19 vaccine doses to a number of priority groups, the first locality in the country to administer boosters.
Under the city’s plan, immunocompromised people, frontline workers, individuals with underlying health conditions, people aged 50 and above, and those who received their second shot at least six months prior will receive booster shots this year.
The city will administer the third COVID-19 vaccine shot to other groups and adults aged 18 and above next year.
Around 2,000 immunocompromised people and 2,000 frontline workers in Gò Vấp District received the third COVID-19 vaccine dose on Friday and Saturday, said Đỗ Anh Khang, Vice Chairman of Gò Vấp District People’s Committee.
A total of 106,000 people aged 50 and above who received their second shot from July onward will receive the third shot next year.
Phạm Thị Lan Thy, a fire department police and search and rescue officer in Gò Vấp District, said given the job's nature of high-level exposure to many people, the booster dose is necessary.
Another district's administration official, Nguyễn Thị Phương Uyên, said she received the primary course in July, and did not see any adverse health issues so she was completely at ease about the third shot.
Also in the district, at a tuberculosis and HIV medical centre, many patients with a weakened immune system or currently on ARV drugs have been given booster shots. Health workers also collected blood samples from some to evaluate their antibody levels.
About 250 patients were set to receive booster doses on Friday.
Dr Thạch Thị Ca at Gò Vấp medical centre said the boosters were very important for these patients as they would be at a high risk of suffering from severe disease if they contract coronavirus.
As of December 8, more than 6.8 million people in the city had two vaccine doses.
HCM City has registered the highest COVID-19 death toll in the fourth wave of the pandemic, driven by the easily transmitted Delta variant of the virus.
Most deaths were individuals with underlying health conditions and those aged 50 and above.
More than 13,100 hospitalised COVID-19 patients are being treated and more than 65,500 patients are being treated at home.
More than 4,800 people with COVID-19 are under quarantine at concentrated quarantine facilities.
The city has given more than 7.9 million first COVID-19 vaccine doses, and more than 6.8 million second doses. — VNS