People get booster shots during a campaign launched by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has ordered localities nationwide to stay alert against COVID-19 as the pandemic is still unpredictable, as shown by the emergence of the BA.5 sub-variant of Omicron in many countries.
Chairing a teleconference of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control with 63 localities nationwide on Tuesday, PM Chính, who is also head of the committee, stressed that in Việt Nam, after the pandemic was brought under control nationwide, some had lowered their guard, especially in vaccination, while authorities had shown slackness in examination.
Meanwhile, the country still had to fight against other disease outbreaks and care for people’s health amid a shortage of medicine and medical supplies, he added.
The BA.5 variant has been reported in Việt Nam, and this sub-variant is 12 per cent more transmissible than the dominant BA.2 in the country at present, according to participants at the meeting. Therefore, BA.5 infections in the community may increase in the time ahead, leading to a rise in the number of new cases.
Given this, the Government leader called for the continuation of the three key pillars in pandemic prevention and control, testing, isolation and treatment. Furthermore, guidance must be clear to implement the new pandemic prevention and control 2K message, which stands for khẩu trang (facemask) and khử khuẩn (disinfection), plus vaccines and drugs, treatment, technology, public awareness and other measures.
The PM asked ministries, sectors and localities to continue seriously and effectively implementing the Government’s Resolution No.38/NQ-CP dated March 17, 2022, promulgating the programme on COVID-19 prevention and control with the strategy of "ensuring safe, flexible adaptation and effective control of the COVID-19 epidemic".
They were also required to proactively build and organise training to cope with all situations that could happen.
The focus should be made on speeding up vaccination rates while ensuring safety and efficiency, particularly for frontline workers and groups at high risk, by coming to every alley and every house to vaccinate eligible groups, the PM said.
He pointed to the need to strengthen information dissemination about the efficacy and effectiveness of vaccines, particularly in helping to lower the risk of serious illness or death.
"People should acknowledge that vaccination is for pandemic prevention and control, so they should proactively get vaccinated to protect their own health as well as the health of their family members and the community," he said.
PM Chính asked the Ministry of Health, agencies and the People's Committees of localities to closely follow the developments of the pandemic in the world, proactively take measures to cope with any emerging diseases, strengthen control at border gates, prepare scenarios and solutions for any situation of the pandemic and improve the capacity of the medical sector.
He also ordered to ensure enough medicines, medical materials and equipment and human resources for pandemic prevention and control and for health check-ups and treatment for people.
Ministries, sectors and localities were also instructed to continue effectively implementing support policies for employers and employees who meet difficulties to help stabilise and develop the labour market and ensure social security.
The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control noted that the anti-pandemic response system from the central to local levels would need to press on with disease prevention and control measures and the administration of booster shots to vulnerable groups, as well as communications to raise public awareness.
Health officials call on people to get COVID-19 booster doses
"Việt Nam is at risk of COVID-19 resurgence if people don’t get booster shots and local authorities stay negligent and don’t accelerate vaccine advocacy," Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Liên Hương told a ceremony in Hà Nội on Tuesday to launch the rollout of the third and fourth vaccine doses for state employees and workers nationwide.
She said more than 233 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Việt Nam, raising the primary vaccination coverage among people aged 12 and above to approximately 100 per cent.
Amidst the global uncertainties brought on by the pandemic and the current virus re-emergence in several countries, Việt Nam continues detecting infections of new variants and is facing the risk of new outbreaks, according to the deputy minister.
With people and organisations lowering their guard against the virus, many cities and provinces have not been making fast enough progress in injecting boosters, while the percentage of people aged 18 and more receiving the third and fourth doses only reached about 67 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively.
"Vaccination is the most effective tool against COVID-19," she emphasised, urging all state employees and workers to have boosters inoculated on schedule. — VNS