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Oct 07, 2021 / 22:11

Today’s Covid News: Vietnam favors kinds of vaccines in immunity passports

Vietnam welcomed double-dosed visitors from Sept 26 as part of efforts to adopt vaccine passports.

The government of Vietnam has agreed with criteria on the adoption of immunity passports with a focus on kinds of vaccines, according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

Vaccine passport is expected to help Vietnam reopen its economy soon. Photo: Khanh Huy/ The Hanoi Times

In the criteria submitted by the MoFA, the kinds of vaccines that the visitors injected are taken into considerations.

“Vietnam accepts types of vaccines that get emergency use authorization by the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and Vietnam’s Ministry of Health,” Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said at the press conference today [Oct 7].

Thus far, the WHO-licensed vaccines include Pfizer, Oxford-developed AstraZeneca, India-made AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm/Vero Cell, and Sinovac.

The CDC-recommended vaccines are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

The EMA-approved kinds are Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford-developed AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

Meanwhile, eight kinds licensed by Vietnam include AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik V, Sinopharm/Vero Cell, Hayat-Vax (China-made and UAE packaged), and Abdala (Cuba made).

Earlier on Sept 26, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh asked authorized agencies to recognize “vaccine passport” to serve the recovery plans. The government stated that the adoption of the immunity passport between Vietnam and other countries is “of great significance” and “particularly necessary” in the current situation.

On Sept 4, Vietnam received the first fully vaccinated passengers who are Vietnamese returnees from Japan. Double-dosed visitors are subject to one-week quarantine instead of two like before.

Vietnam has switched to flexible adaptation to the pandemic from the zero-Covid strategy. It is on the way for the recovery plans thanks to the significant containment of the virus.

On Oct 7, Vietnam confirmed 4,150 Covid-19 infections, the record low in two months and a half.

 Vietnam's coronavirus cases. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu

Major cities and provinces catch up on a cautious return

The army started withdrawing its soldiers out of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) as the pandemic eased up.

On Oct 7, a group of 200 soldiers left Binh Tan District to go back to military barracks stationed in the neighboring province of Dong Nai after a month and a half supporting the pandemic fight in the largest city.

In the same move, part of the soldiers left Thu Duc City, Binh Thanh, and Go Vap Districts to return to their camps thanks to the containment of the virus in the localities.

Senior Colonel Nguyen Tuan Bao from the HCMC High Command said the withdrawal will take place until Oct 15 with the units under the Ministry of National Defense be the first then those belong to the 7th Military Region High Command (that covers HCMC and the southeast region).

The soldiers will leave until the areas bring the pandemic under control, Bao said, noting that military medics will stay until the end of November.

Statistics by the Ministry of Health showed that on Oct 7, HCMC reported 1,730 infections. Its caseload fell 41% over the last week, to an average of 2,300/day.

Its fatalities decreased to 88/day on Oct 6 from 250-280/day in early September, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son said at a virtual meeting today.

As the infections dropped, ride-hailing services were allowed from today with the resumption of GrabCar on the condition that drivers are double dosed and tested negative for the virus every week. In addition, drivers need to show QR Code and their services are within HCMC only.

Another good news was shown through the rising number of businesses resuming operations. According to Pham Duc Hai, deputy head of the city’s Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control, more than 9,000 companies resumed working on Oct 6 from 5,000 on Oct 1, the first day of the reopening process.

Meanwhile, around 164,000 out of 288,000 workers in industrial parks and export processing zones were back to work on Oct 6, compared to 70,000 on Oct 1 or 57% and 24%, respectively.

As of Oct 6, 20 out of 22 cities and districts bring the pandemic under control, except for Binh Tan and Binh Chanh Districts, according to Pham Duc Hai.

Hanoi, meanwhile, maintains the containment momentum for three weeks after it relaxed restrictions, only some cases reported daily in the Viet Duc Hospital cluster and health experts said it is totally under control.

After Hanoi refused to advocate the resumption of domestic flights, the Ministry of Transport suggested two options for the capital city. It includes two Hanoi-HCMC return flights per day and four Hanoi-HCMC one-way flights/day. The flight is expected to operate from Oct 10.

The central city of Danang today allowed the resumption of aviation and railways, making it the first among 22 localities nationwide to approve the operations of passenger trains which are expected to operate within October.

To serve the reopening plans, Khanh Hoa Province which is home to the famous beach city of Nha Trang will vaccinate foreigners from Oct 8.