Vaccine rollout plan unveiled

With the first Covid-19 vaccine slated to arrive in the country later this month, the Vietnamese health ministry has issued its initial vaccination rollout plan, including the priority groups to be given the jabs.

The vaccines are from the WHO-led Vaccines Global Access (Covax) initiative, created mainly to ensure supplies for developing countries. Vietnam as an eligible recipient is set to receive 30 million doses throughout 2021.

The 11 priority groups are identified based on the outbreak situation and given the current limited supply of vaccines in Vietnam: medical workers; people involved in anti-pandemic efforts (Covid-19 prevention and control steering committees of all levels, quarantine facility staff, reporters, etc); diplomats; customs officers and people working entry and exit procedures; military personnel; public security forces; teachers; elders above 65 years old; essential workers (aviation, transport, tourism staff, utility workers); people with chronic health issues; people who want to study or work overseas; and people in virus-hit regions.

The priority ranking is evaluated based on criteria such as areas where Covid-19 cases are present, areas with Covid-19 deaths, major cities with high population density and localities considered traffic and transit hubs.

According to the plan signed off by Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen yesterday, the vaccination drive will aim to inoculate 80% of the Vietnamese population in a bid to achieve herd immunity.

However, with the current limited supply, health authorities are targeting 20% coverage in 2021-22, with 95% of high-risk groups being vaccinated.

In the first quarter, the health ministry expects to inoculate 95%

of 500,000 front line medical workers and 116,000 anti-pandemic staff., and 1.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine are to be used (each will be given two shots as per recommendations).

In the second quarter, the health ministry aims to inoculate 95% of 9,200 customs officers, 4,080 diplomats, 1,027,000 military officers, 304,000 public security officers, and 550,000 teachers who are considered in high-risk categories.

Four vaccine manufacturers in Vietnam are also researching Covid-19 vaccines, with Nano Covax by Nanogen slated to begin phase two of human trial later this month, and another vaccine by Vabiotech preparing to enter human trial. — Vietnam News/ANN

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