|A primary schoolgirl is given a COVID-19 vaccination in Tản Lĩnh Primary School in Ba Vì District, Hà Nội on August 11. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Đức|
HÀ NỘI — Many parents in Hà Nội have decided to allow their children to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the new school year starts in September.
Nguyễn Thủy, mother of a daughter at Ngọc Hà Primary School in Ba Đình District, Hà Nội, said she and her family have decided to allow her daughter to be injected with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thủy said previously, she did not intend to vaccinate her daughter, however, with COVID-19 cases on the rise, she changed her mind.
“I think vaccination will help to keep my daughter safe when the number of new COVID-19 cases has been increasing,” she said.
“My daughter has just had the first dose so far.”
When the school encouraged parents to register their children for vaccinations, many parents agreed.
Lê Việt Hồng, mother of a primary school pupil in Ba Đình District, took her child to the vaccination site last Saturday after receiving the notice from the school about the vaccination.
“It is expected to protect my child from the disease,” she said.
Pham Xuân Tùng, father of a secondary school student in Ba Đình District, took his son to the vaccination site last Saturday, a day after the school encouraged parents to allow their children to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I feel more secure and safe when my son finished the first dose of the vaccination,” he said.
Hoàng Thị Quỳnh, mother of a student at Thượng Cát Primary School in Bắc Từ Liêm District, said she applauded the vaccination drive for primary school children especially at this time, about three weeks before the new school year starts.
The second week after the injection, antibodies will be enough to protect the body against the disease, she said.
Therefore, this is the right time for children to get jabs, she said.
Nguyễn Văn Tài, father of a student at Minh Khai Secondary School in Bắc Từ Liêm District, said it is very necessary to vaccinate children at this time so that they can safely start the new school year.
City and schools’ efforts
On August 9, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Hà Nội Trần Sỹ Thanh signed the Official Dispatch No 03/CĐ-UBND, on strengthening vaccination against COVID-19.
The department requested that Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control (CDC) promote communications on the benefits of vaccination, the effectiveness and necessity of it against COVID-19 with convincing and scientific information to encourage people to vaccinate, including children from five to under 12 years old.
Following the dispatch, the city’s Department of Health has directed the Hà Nội's CDC, health centres in districts and local hospitals to focus on vaccination for children from five to under 12 years old.
In a related move, local schools have told parents to allow their children to be vaccinated by creating Zalo groups to clearly analyse the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for children.
Đào Thị Hồng Hạnh, principal of Bế Văn Đàn Secondary School in Đống Đa District, said before the summer break ends, the school has encouraged parents to allow their children to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Hạnh said the school has sent videos and documents to disseminate the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations as well as sending schedules to parents.
For students, who have underlying medical conditions, the school has made a list and closely coordinated with the ward’s health station to answer questions for parents who are still confused, she said.
The ward’s health station also gave advices about the appropriate time of injection for students, who have allergies or have just contracted COVID-19, or students are taking antibiotics, she said.
Khổng Minh Tuấn, deputy director of the Hà Nội CDC, said currently, the Zalo communication channels between schools and parents are proving very effective.
Statistics show that the city has more than one million children from five to under 12 years old. However, the number of children receiving the first injection of COVID-19 vaccine is only about 51.8 per cent and the number of children receiving the second dose has only reached 21 per cent so far.
In the meantime, more than 60 countries worldwide have deployed COVID-19 vaccination for children aged from five to 11 years old with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which is officially licensed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for children.
According to medical experts, vaccination not only helps to protect children but also helps to reduce the risk of virus spreading to classmates at school, the elderly in the families and the vulnerable people in the community. At the same time, vaccination also helps children to be confident and comfortable participating in outdoor activities.
Trần Đắc Phu, former director of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, said many children have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and there are not many cases of severe reactions after vaccination so far.
For children with underlying diseases and risk factors, parents need to consult a doctor and carefully screen them before vaccination, he added. — VNS