|People can receive their third COVID-19 vaccine shot three months after their second shot, instead of the previously scheduled interval of six months. — VNA/VNS Photo Đan Phương|
HCM CITY — A third COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for people aged 18 and over is being administered in HCM City three months after the second dose instead of the previous interval of six months, following national guidelines.
On Tuesday, the city’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control officially announced the new schedule for booster doses. Following the Ministry of Health's guidelines for booster shots, the city is the first locality in the country to administer boosters to fully vaccinate people aged 18 and over.
Priority is for people aged 50 and older, medical workers, people directly involved in collecting samples for COVID-19 testing and treating COVID-19 patients, and frontline forces working in the pandemic fight.
Immunocompromised people such as those with cancer or HIV, as well as organ transplant recipients, and people who have used immunosuppressive drugs within the last six months and have received the Sinopharm Vero Cell or Sputnik V vaccine can receive a booster shot 28 days after their last dose.
The city expects to complete the administration of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all adults by July, 2022. More than 78,300 third doses have been given so far.
Safety criteria for reopening massage services
HCM City has issued a set of 10 safety criteria that must be met by massage services before reopening to customers.
The businesses must register for a QR code and provide it to employees and customers for health declaration purposes. Employees must have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot or have recovered from the disease, and must wear clean masks and wash hands frequently.
Customers must have at least one vaccine shot against COVID-19 or have recovered from the disease, and test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours prior to their appointment.
Both customers and employees must have their temperatures checked before entering a spa or massage service. The establishments must have sufficient soap and hand sanitizer and ensure regular disinfection of furniture and equipment.
Facilities must ensure a minimum density of four square meters per person and keep a minimal distance of one metre between each customer.
Massage services are allowed to operate at full capacity in areas with a low risk of infection, but must reduce capacity by 50 and 25 per cent in areas of medium and high risk, respectively.
The service is banned in areas with a "very high" risk.
Owners must strictly comply with anti-COVID measures, publicise the maximum number of customers they are allowed to serve at a time, and ensure that the number of customers does not exceed the registered figure.
The city allowed spas, massage parlors, bars and dance clubs to reopen on November 11 but shut them down two days later after the COVID-19 situation worsened.
All of these establishments and other non-essential services in the city had previously been suspended for about six months.
Limited school reopening assessed
The HCM City People’s Committee will decide if all students can return to school on January 3 after it receives a safety evaluation of the two-week period this month when ninth and 12th graders attended classes, a city leader has said.
Dương Anh Đức, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, inspecting Trưng Vương High School in District 1 on Tuesday, said the ninth and 12th graders started attending school on December 13, and the participation was much higher than opinion surveys had indicated.
The city is making efforts to continue education in a safe and healthy manner, he said.
Co-ordinated efforts between schools and families and a unified response to infections are vital for this, he added.
Thirty four infections were found in schools, including 27 students, during the first week, according to the city Department of Education and Training.
Schools followed official guidance to respond to the infections to ensure the safety of all staff and students.
Schools are collecting parents’ opinions on resuming all other classes from sixth to 11th grades.
At a recent online meeting with school officials most parents expressed the desire their children should learn in school in a safe and healthy environment, she added. — VNS