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Mar 03, 2022 / 13:09

Pfizer vaccine doses for children aged 5-11 to arrive in Vietnam this month

Children aged 5-11 would be administered with a 0.2ml (10 mcg) of Pfizer each dose.

Vietnam has signed a contract to purchase 21.9 million doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11, with 7 million to be delivered in March, according to Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen.

Tuyen said the remaining 14.9 million doses are expected to be handed over in April, adding that as soon as the vaccines arrive, the ministry would administer them to children aged between 5 to 11.

The deputy minister cited the statistics from vaccine producers and the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying that more than 60 countries have injected Covid-19 vaccines into children from 5-11 years old.

To date, 80 million doses of vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech have been delivered to countries, Tuyen said. "The vaccine has proved to be safe for children."

In Vietnam, 17 million vaccine doses have been administered to children aged 12-17, with over 98.6% of the group having received at least one dose and 94.6% two shots.

The health ministry has also updated its guidelines for using the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, saying children aged 5-11 would be administered with a dosage of 0.2ml (10 mcg). Children aged 12 and above would receive a 0.3 ml (30 mcg) of Pfizer each dose.

 Around 17 million vaccine doses have been administered to Vietnamese children aged 12-17. Photo: Thai Binh

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Minh Dien, Director of the National Children’s Hospital, said that the WHO has continued to recommend the vaccination for children.

He noted that vaccinated children show mild symptoms when they get infected and no one has been hospitalized.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thanh Hung, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Children’s Hospital No.1, supported the Government’s policy to inoculate children against Covid-19.

In the southern metropolis, the vaccination for children aged 12-18 has been implemented with utmost safety, allowing children from grades 6-12 to return to school. The number of hospitalized children due to Covid-19 has fallen sharply to 163 cases in November 2021 and 75 in January 2022, Hung cited.

He noted 19.3% of children under 18 years old are infected with Covid-19, stressing that children with underlying diseases should receive special attention.

Pediatricians should give instructions to medical workers on pre-vaccination screening and post-vaccination health supervision to ensure safety, Hung said, adding that it is necessary to create consensus among parents on the vaccination for children and make them understand the benefits of the move.

The rate at which the Government has been able to distribute safely the vaccines has been astonishing and Vietnam needs to feel very proud indeed of the Government's mobilization to get the vaccine to the people, said UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Rana Flowers in her recent interview granted to Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

Rana Flowers said UNICEF appreciates the Vietnamese Government’s efforts in the ongoing vaccine rollout for children. While Covid-19 is rarer and less severe in children, it can occasionally occur, she said, noting that being vaccinated will help to minimize disruption to their education, routines and other things that are important to their wellbeing.

Earlier, in mid-February, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had a telephone call with Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla from Hanoi to ask him to expedite the delivery of 22 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 years to Vietnam in as soon as possible, with a goal of completing this procurement contract in April or May at the latest.

The health ministry of Vietnam has selected Pfizer as the vaccine to be used for young children, following guidance from the WHO. It said the vaccination would not be mandatory, but recommended.