COVID-19 prevention, control and vaccinations need stepping up amid infection uptick

April 13, 2023 - 12:43
According to the document, from April 5-11, the country reported 639 new cases, around 90 cases a day – a 3.8-fold increase compared to that of seven days ago.


Students at the Khánh Yên Secondary High School (Văn Bàn District, Lào Cai Province) are required to wear masks and disinfect hands after a cluster of more than 50 COVID-19 infections (including both teachers and students) was registered late last week. — VNA/VNS Photo Quốc Khánh

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health has sent an urgent dispatch on strengthening the prevention and control of COVID-19 to the people's committees of all 63 provinces and centrally-run cities amid a recent spike in infections.

According to the document, from April 5-11, the country reported 639 new cases, around 90 cases a day – a 3.8-fold increase compared to that of seven days ago. April 12 recorded 261 cases, the largest in over three months. Notably, the number of patients aged above 50 accounts for 30.2 per cent of the total cases.

The number of patients hospitalised is also on the rise, while the rate of vaccination in several localities fails to meet set targets.

To prevent the pandemic from breaking out again, the health ministry requested the local people’s committees continue directing and strictly following instructions of the Government and the Prime Minister on the prevention and control of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

More efforts are needed to accelerate the vaccination process, keep a close watch on the pandemic developments, and ready response measures.

Localities are required to direct the organisation of receiving, caring for and treating patients, especially high-risk groups such as pregnant women, people with underlying diseases, and the elderly.

In addition, attention must be paid to raising people's awareness of protecting their health and that of their families and communities.

The National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), which stores COVID-19 vaccines before distribution to localities, has also asked provinces and cities’ health authorities to review the list of people that should get COVID-19 vaccines to have an estimate of the amount of doses needed.

At the beginning of February 2023, NIHE allocated 832,900 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine with an expiration date of July 9 and July 11, 2023, to 63 provinces and cities nationwide to carry out booster administrations for people from the age of 18.

Over 266 million doses have been administered nationwide, of which about 51.6 million people aged 18 and older have received the third dose, translating to a rate of 81 per cent. However, this rate is not uniform across the country and there are still many localities with booster coverage below 80 per cent.

Currently, the number of AstraZeneca vaccines remaining at local level storage facilities (not including 204,400 doses in the national reserve) is about 300,000. The rate of vaccinations in the first eight days of April 2023 is slow, averaging about 1,040 doses per day, which means a lot might go unused.

In Hà Nội, where there is also an uptick in infections in recent days, people can go to local health stations to get COVID-19 vaccinations without the need for registering beforehand, according to Khổng Minh Tuấn, deputy head of the city’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC). — VNS