|Health workers at the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases get vaccinated on March 8. VNA/VNS.Photo Đinh Hằng|
HCM CITY— HCM City has sought approval from the Government’s for enterprises to enter into direct negotiations to buy COVID-19 vaccines on the international market.
According to the city People’s Committee, there is an urgent need for vaccinating more than 70 per cent of the population to help achieve herd immunity.
After the Ministry of Health allows imports of vaccines and confirms their quality, enterprises should be allowed to vaccinate their employees.
Explaining the reasons for these petitions, the People’s Committee said there had been an increase in COVID incidence and an appearance of the SARS-CoV-2 variants first identified in the UK and India that spread more rapidly than earlier ones.
The city had more than 7.2 million of people aged above 18 and 1.6 million workers in industrial parks, but had received only 140,000 doses, it said.
The ministry has set up a standing board for COVID prevention and control in the city headed by Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn. It will take part in meetings with the city Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control to direct preventive measures.
Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant
Dr Nguyễn Trí Dũng, head of the city Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, told a press conference on Monday that the Delta variant identified first in India is like the H1N1 virus of swine flu that caused outbreaks in 2009.
The centre had not yet assessed if the Delta variant could make patients worse than the others, and said it needed more time to study that.
But Dũng said the variant does spread rapidly, floating in air for a long time before falling to the ground, and vaccines are less efficient against it.
It was first seen in two patients in the city’s District 3 on May 18, he said.
Its rapid speed of spread was shown in the Gò Vấp District cluster in which the first seven patients contracted it and then rapidly transmitted to their family, neighbours and colleagues, he said.
Seventy-one out of more than 300 people working at the Thiên Tú FN Company in Phú Nhuận District tested positive for the variant within just three days, with 60 per cent having symptoms.
In comparison, nearly 80 per cent of patients contracting the variant which was identified in UK do not have symptoms.
According to the centre, the city has 382 lockdown sites in Thủ Đức city and districts 12, Tân Bình, Tân Phú, and Gò Vấp. VNS