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Dec 08, 2021 / 15:57

Hanoi encourages parents to keep vaccinating children

Hanoi parents are advised to accompany their children to immunization points.

Director of the Hanoi Department of Training and Education Tran The Cuong has urged parents to continue allowing their children to be vaccinated so that they can resume in-person classes as soon as possible.

“In line with Hanoi city’s policy and the health sector’s recommendations, after Covid-19 vaccination, students will return to schools," Cuong said at a meeting of the city's legislators on December 7.

“The capital city has covered 94.1% of high-school and 65.08% of secondary students with the first dose. We would like to encourage parents to continue letting their children get vaccinated” Cuong said, stressing that Hanoi authorities suspended the use of the batches of the Pfizer vaccine with extended expiry dates to immunize children from 12 to under 18.

Currently, many Hanoi parents are feeling confused when having to choose whether or not to administer Covid-19 vaccine to their children.

“After considering the pros and cons, I decided that my son needed vaccination because of the sharp increase of new infections in Hanoi and the appearance of a new coronavirus variant,” Le Thi Khanh Van, a parent in Nam Tu Liem District, told The Hanoi Times.

A student of Vietnam-Angeria Secondary School in Hanoi’s Thanh Xuan District got a shot of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on November 23, 2021. Photo: Hai Linh

But she changed her mind when reading an article on November 30 about the shelf-life extension of two Pfizer vaccine batches.

Pham Thanh Kien, a neighbor of Van, and his wife made the same decision.

“We freak out when reading news about the deaths after the vaccination. We need to listen to the news before making a decision,” Kien said.

Both Van and Kien said they still want their children to get vaccinated but they feel nervous.

Nguyen Thi Huong, head of Bac Tu Liem Education Division emphasized that getting vaccination is not compulsory but on a voluntary basis and parents have the right to decide.

She said the district has been organizing immunization campaigns for secondary schools since late November, depending on the number of vaccines allocated.

“In our instructions, we recommend that parents bring their children to immunization points, so that they can be together with their children during the process. We have asked teachers to keep a close watch on the children’s health,” Huong told The Hanoi Times, adding that about 5% of students did not register for vaccinations.

“We hope that parents will not refuse Covid-19 vaccination for their children after Hanoi suspended the use of the extended batches,” Huong said.

Earlier on December 6, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh requested authorities to look into and seek approval of certain vaccine-related topics, including the possibility to vaccinate children from five years old, basing on scientific and safety criteria that are suitable for the pandemic situation in Vietnam.

The PM noted over 20 countries have vaccinated children aged 3-11, adding that the WHO said the pros of vaccinating children aged 3-11 outweigh the cons.

Chinh stressed that the newly emerging Omicron variant has worsened the pandemic situation globally. While reports have shown that current vaccines still offer high protection and firms are developing new remedies to respond to the variant, countries have been ramping up prevention measures and giving their citizens third doses, he added.

Ho Chi Minh City plans third Covid-19 shots from December 10

PM Chinh wants all adults to receive two Covid-19 vaccine doses within this year. He ordered health agencies to begin giving the third dose to certain groups, prioritizing those aged 50 and above and those at the frontline in the fight against the coronavirus.

 A health worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine shot in HCMC. Photo: Thanh Thuy

Then, the Ministry of Health last week decided to provide the booster shoots at least 28 days after the final standard dose, while allowing the mix of certain vaccines.

Localities would decide on population segment to receive additional or booster shots and plan vaccination accordingly.

Leading the move, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has made a plan to start administering people their third Covid-19 vaccine doses, starting December 10.

In a draft plan regarding Covid-19 vaccination, proposed by the HCMC Department of Health to the municipal People's Committee, around 6.3 million vaccine shots would be given as third doses for those who got two jabs.

Booster shots would be provided to adults at least six months after they have received their last shots prioritizing those with underlying conditions, in long-term care at medical facilities, aged 50 and above, and those at the frontline of the Covid-19 fight.

Booster shots could either be the same vaccine one receives during the normal course or one of mRNA technologies, like Pfizer or Moderna.

At the time of writing, HCMC has vaccinated around 8 million people with at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot, while some 6.8 million have been fully vaccinated.

Vietnam has so far given over 129 million vaccine doses to its adult population, meaning over 94% have received at least one dose, over 54.1 million people (68%) fully vaccinated.

The country has been the Covid-19 vaccination campaign for children aged 12-18 using the Pfizer vaccine. Of over 3.5 million shots administered, around 0.3% reported common side effects.