A child is vaccinated at the Pasteur Institute in HCM City. Photo giaoduc.edu.vn
HCM CITY — The HCM City’s Department of Health has ordered healthcare facilities that offer vaccination services to set up plans to return to normal with strict implementation of infection prevention measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department last week told district-level medical centres, public and private hospitals, and vaccination centres to reschedule time frames for immunisation services to avoid crowds and inform those who need immunisations.
Healthcare facilities are required to ensure that fewer than 20 people are waiting for vaccines at the same time.
Rooms for physical examination, screenings, and vaccine administration and follow-up must be cleaned and disinfected.
Areas for handwashing with soap and water as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be set up for easy use.
Health workers and people seeking vaccination must wear face masks and wash hands or use hand sanitizers regularly.
The department assigned the city’s Centre for Disease Control to set up a plan to ensure that children who missed essential vaccines are vaccinated according to their immunisation schedules, and to strictly follow infection prevention and safe immunisation rules.
The aim is to ensure the continuation of the expanded national vaccination programme in the city and to protect children against a wide range of dangerous diseases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Việt Nam released a joint statement on ensuring that children are vaccinated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The joint statement was issued on the occasion of the World Immunisation Week from April 24-30.
According to the joint statement, with the COVID-19 pandemic dominating attention in Việt Nam and across the world, WHO and UNICEF are calling on national and local health authorities, families and communities, as well as development partners and the private sector, to step up efforts to ensure that children continue to receive essential immunisation during the pandemic so that ground is not lost in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases.
If vaccinations continue to be disrupted, these diseases could return, and the world could see vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.
The COVID-19 pandemic is overstretching health care systems and has already disrupted immunisation services in many places because health workers have been reassigned to the pandemic response, and in many instances, they have also been discouraged to conduct routine activities involving physical interactions with healthy people.
Some parents are avoiding healthcare facilities, worried that the COVID-19 virus could be transmitted to them and their children.
At this critical time, children are missing important milestones in their immunisation schedule and this situation could put their health at risk.
Data from around the world indicate that more than 117 million children are at risk of missing out on measles vaccines globally due to the pandemic, and Việt Nam is not an exception.
While Việt Nam is on a path to success in containing the spread of COVID-19, the fight against the disease may continue for years to come.
“We are encouraging health services to reach out, and parents to prioritise securing vaccinations to protect their children. It is time to set up a plan for routine immunisation to return to normal while ensuring social distancing and the safety of health workers and communities. It is also time to work jointly to ensure that those children who missed essential vaccines in the last months are brought up to date with their immunisation,” the WHO and UNICEF statement said. — VNS