|A resident of Hoàn Kiếm District, Hà Nội, receives a COVID-19 booster vaccine shot. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hiếu
HÀ NỘI — Health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long has urged localities to expedite the vaccination of people aged 12 and over, and complete administration of the primary series of vaccines, before the end of January.
The additional/booster shot campaign for eligible adults (18 years and above) should be wrapped up within the first quarter of this year, Long said.
The Ministry of Health recommends that localities once again review all adult residents in their jurisdiction to make sure no one eligible is not vaccinated.
The health departments should also focus on management and protection for high-risk groups of people – the elderly, people with underlying diseases, immunocompromised patients, pregnant women – to ensure adequate vaccination and their access to medical services in their hometown (township, ward, or commune).
Mobile vaccination sites and units should be set up to get shots to people who have difficulty travelling.
Local health authorities have also been told to properly allocate human resources and budget to carry out the vaccination, and speed up the inputting of vaccination data into the national COVID-19 vaccine management portal.
Awareness campaigns should also be stepped up to give the public a clear grasp of the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines and reduce hesitancy.
As of Wednesday, a total 163.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 148.3 million doses for the adult population, have been administered in Việt Nam.
Nearly 100 per cent of adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while second-dose coverage has hit 92.6 per cent. Over half, 37 out of 63, localities in the country reported over 90 per cent of adults are now fully inoculated against COVID-19.
Around 11.5 per cent of the adult population have received an additional/booster shot, which is only given three months after the second dose of the primary series, according to the health ministry's guidelines.
Over 14 million shots have been administered to children aged 12-17, with 89.8 per cent receiving at least one dose and 68 per cent fully vaccinated.
The following 33 localities have basically wrapped up the vaccination of children aged 12-17: Hà Nội, Hải Phòng, Hà Nam, Ninh Bình, Bắc Ninh, Hưng Yên, Quảng Ninh, Hòa Bình, Hà Tĩnh, Lạng Sơn, Cao Bằng, Yên Bái, Lào Cai, Thừa Thiên Huế, Đà Nẵng, Khánh Hòa, Ninh Thuận, Đắk Nông, HCM City, Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu, Tiền Giang, Long An, Lâm Đồng, Tây Ninh, Sóc Trăng, An Giang, Bến Tre, Trà Vinh, Vĩnh Long, Bình Phước, Cà Mau, Bạc Liêu, and Hậu Giang.
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has also sent a dispatch to the health ministry and COVID-19 steering committees of localities, urging vaccination to be sped up, strictly enforcing COVID-19 measures and ensuring public compliance, in order to protect individuals, households and community against the threat of Omicron.
Localities, agencies and units that do not have sufficient staff to carry out COVID-19 vaccination and medical examination and treatment (especially home-based treatment of asymptomatic and mild cases) need to report to their local authorities for support.
The health ministry is asked to continue studying international practice and experience as well as collecting expert advice on the administration of booster vaccine shots and enhancing inspections to avoid abuse, corruption and losses in COVID-19 prevention and control efforts.
Assoc. Prof. Bùi Quang Tuấn, director of the Việt Nam Institute of Economics, said the country should participate in the development and trials of COVID-19 vaccines, including technology transfer processes, during a symposium on COVID-19 vaccines and nations’ influence held by Việt Nam Academy of Social Sciences on Wednesday.
This could serve to boost bilateral relations with other countries as well as to reduce reliance on international sources of vaccines, Tuấn said.
Tuấn also suggested Việt Nam restructure its national COVID-19 vaccine fund, to put more emphasis on support for domestic research and development of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. — VNS