|A Moderna vaccine vial. HCM City has started to administer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to 6.3 million adults aged 18 and above who have already received two shots. Booster shots are now being given three months after the second shot instead of the previously scheduled six-month interval. VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp|
HCM CITY — The Ministry of Health has told four central-level hospitals – Chợ Rẫy, Huế Central, HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy and Thống Nhất – to provide training in resuscitation services to staff without these skills who work in COVID-19 healthcare facilities in HCM City.
The city had earlier asked the ministry to send additional staff trained in resuscitation services to the city.
The city said it needed 1,000 doctors and 2,000 nurses, including 300 doctors and 600 nurses who specialise in resuscitation, to work at COVID field hospitals, resuscitation centres, and so-called three-level COVID hospitals in the city.
But because of outbreaks in other areas in the country, the ministry said the four hospitals should provide resuscitation training to existing medical staff.
The ministry recently issued a decision on COVID-19 management and treatment for centrally-run cities and provinces.
To deal with staff shortages, epidemiologists said the city should mobilise students, retired medical staff and volunteers, and strengthen grassroots healthcare in wards and communes.
The number of cases in HCM City has dropped recently. On December 24 there were 679 cases and 44 deaths, which was half of the number of cases and deaths in previous days.
Third vaccine shots
The city has started to give the third booster shot to all adults aged 18 and above who have been vaccinated with two doses.
Lê Phước Hùng, director of District 1 Medical Centre, said the district lacked enough staff for the booster plan and had asked the Department of Health to provide more personnel to provide the third shot.
The district is currently trying to provide vaccines to the remaining people who are unvaccinated, many of whom have returned to the city from other provinces.
Đỗ Thị Trúc Mai, vice chairwoman of the District 4 People’s Committee, said: “The progress of the booster scheme for people who are at high risk is very slow. We need more human resources.”
Meanwhile, Nhà Bè and Cần Giờ districts face no staff shortages.
Trương Tiến Triển, vice chairman of Cần Giờ District People’s Committee, said the district had nearly completed booster shots for frontline medical forces and would begin giving boosters for other people in the next week.
Priority groups for the third shot are people aged 50 and older, people with underlying diseases, people needing long-term care at medical facilities, and people who directly test, care for and treat COVID-19 patients.
A third dose called an “additional dose” (not a “booster”) is given to immunocompromised people such as those with HIV or cancer whose immunity response to the first and second vaccine doses was very weak.
The city is giving the third additional shot to people with immunocompromised status aged 18 and over (such as people with an organ transplant, cancer or HIV, or people who have used immunosuppressive drugs in the past six months) who had the second dose of the vaccine at least 28 days prior to the third dose. People aged 50 and over in this group are given priority. — VNS