Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long
Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long speaks to Sức khoẻ đời sống (Life and Health) online newspaper about the national vaccination campaign to fight COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health is about to conduct the largest-ever vaccination campaign. What can you tell us about it?
The national vaccination campaign has several characteristics. It will be implemented in every province and city and injection stations will be set up in all communes and wards. It is a very important factor for the success of the vaccination campaign.
Apart from current injection stations, there will be mobile injection stations to vaccinate people in factories, students in schools and other areas to ensure our people can be injected in the most convenient and easiest way.
The campaign will be participated by all ministries and sectors, especially, the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Transport to support the health ministry.
We will also strengthen the application of information technology in the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic, including deploying vaccinations under the direction of Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính. We have successfully applied information technology in the fight against the pandemic in the past.
Currently, the health ministry has already set up an electronic health book for individuals. Citizens will register for the vaccination on their electronic health book or via text message.
Then, the system will send messages to people to inform them about the vaccination time and place to avoid having to wait for the injection. Those who meet medical requirements will be injected and confirmed 'vaccinated' on the electronic health book. The database will later be used for vaccination passports.
People can report symptoms and post-injection reactions via the electronic health book for health agencies to manage and begin treatment.
The goal of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign is to vaccinate about 70 million people in Việt Nam. Why is that target?
Many countries have set a target for herd immunity by 2021 and 2022. Việt Nam is pursuing herd immunity in 2021 and early 2022.
We have to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of the total population to get the target of herd immunity and bring our lives back to normal.
The health ministry has reported to the Politburo and the Government on the issue of purchasing vaccines as well as implementing the vaccination campaign to ensure that people can access vaccination soon.
How does the ministry prepare to ensure the safety of vaccinations?
Vaccination safety is a matter of special concern to the health ministry. The ministry has always put safety first during the implementation of vaccinations in Việt Nam not only for COVID-19 vaccines but also many other vaccines.
The difference of the vaccination programme in our country compared to other countries is the careful screening of all people before vaccination. If a person fails to meet the health requirements, the injection station will delay the inoculation.
Facilities providing vaccinations must ensure standards of facilities, equipment and human resources. The facilities must also carry out pre-vaccination screenings and counselling as well as organise safe vaccinations under the guidance of the Ministry of Health.
People must stay at the vaccination station for at least 30 minutes after being injected to monitor their health. They will be instructed to monitor their health at home for at least the next 24 hours and continue monitoring for up to three weeks after injection.
Hospitals are always ready to perform emergency treatment for people with severe reactions to ensure maximum safety for the individual.
The ministry has also set up the Steering Committee on Immunisation Safety, bringing together leading experts and professors in various fields to be ready to help localities across the country to ensure vaccination safety.— VNS