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Jan 12, 2022 / 20:16

PM urges acceleration of Covid-19 vaccination rollout amid Omicron fears

The vaccination campaign for children would be prioritized in areas with persistent outbreaks, undergoing social distancing with high population density or high infection risks.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has called for speeding up Covid-19 vaccination and enhancing pandemic prevention and control measures ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, the country’s biggest traditional festival, according to a recently-signed official dispatch.

The official dispatch was issued in the face of the more complicated evolution of the pandemic in the capital city of Hanoi and other localities, especially the risks of new outbreaks caused by the Omicron variant.

Accordingly, localities nationwide were tasked with seriously and drastically carrying out anti-pandemic measures in line with directions of the Vietnamese Government, the Prime Minister and the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, staying vigilant and improving public awareness on strictly obeying pandemic protocols.

 A health worker injects Covid-19 vaccine to a Hanoi resident. Photo: Ngoc Tu

The prime minister urged the People’s Committees of provinces and cities to speed up vaccine rollout and organize mobile vaccination teams to administer people at home, as well as increase home treatment for the patients with mild or no symptoms, the dispatch said.

The Ministry of Health bears the responsibility of providing sufficient vaccines and treatment drug and supervises the homegrown vaccine production in a most fast, safe and effective manner possible; considering international experience and consulting experts about the administration of booster shots.

Besides, the health ministry was assigned to join hands with the Ministry of Education and Training and other relevant agencies to consider importing and inoculating Covid-19 vaccines for children under 18, the dispatch stressed.

The Vietnamese government will allocate a maximum of VND14,000 billion (US$616.7 million) to invest in building, renovating, upgrading and modernizing medical system and up to VND46,000 billion (around US$2 billion) to import vaccines, therapeutic drugs and medical equipment and supplies for Covid-19 prevention and control.

Local authorities have been ordered to boost their child vaccination progress so as to immunize all those aged 12-17 with two doses within this month. For now, 32 out of 63 cities and provinces, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, have finished vaccinating two doses for children from 12.

“The vaccination campaign for children would be prioritized in areas with persistent outbreaks, undergoing social distancing, with high population density or high infection risks,” said the prime minister.

He noted that vaccination would be prioritized for high school students, before moving onto secondary students. Those who are not studying at school would also be listed for vaccination.

As of January 12, Vietnam has recorded 31 Omicron cases in Hanoi (1), Quang Nam (14), Ho Chi Minh City (12), Hai Duong (1), Hai Phong (1) and Thanh Hoa (2). All of them are imported cases and were sent to medical quarantine upon their arrivals.

The nation has so far documented more than 1,930,400 infection cases, including 1,596,956 recoveries and 34,787 fatalities.

Vietnam has vaccinated around 55.6 million adults with at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot while 23.4 million have been fully vaccinated. Children under 18 account for around 17% of all Covid-19 infections in the country, according to data from the health ministry.

More than 13.93 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered to people aged between 12 and 17 across Vietnam, and more than 5.97 million of them, or 67%, have received two doses.