‘Vaccination set to begin next week’

THE Covid-19 vaccination will begin right after the health ministry receives an accreditation certificate from South Korea for the Covid-19 vaccine batch that arrived on Feb 24, which is due later this week or early next week.

Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong made the announcement at the government’s regular press conference in Hanoi on Tuesday, in response to questions over vaccination progress after the first 117,600 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca, manufactured in South Korea, bought commercially via Vietnam Vaccine Company, had arrived in Vietnam.

The Health Ministry has assigned the National Institute for Control of Vaccine and Biologicals to verify the batch, which has been basically completed. It is now waiting for an accreditation certificate from South Korea before health authorities can begin inoculations.

According to the official, the vaccination effort is in line with the Government’s Resolution No.21/NQ-CP on the purchase and use of Covid-19 vaccines, which details nine priority groups for free inoculations – including frontline workers (medical staff, public security and military officers, workers directly involved in the pandemic efforts; customers officers, diplomats sent overseas on official missions; teachers and front-facing public administrative offices; essential service workers; those above 65 years old, people in outbreak regions; the poor; among others).

Besides these groups, pandemic-hit localities will also be prioritised and the northern province of Hai Duong, the epicentre of the current community outbreaks that have logged nearly 700 Covid-19 cases to date, will be one of the first provinces and cities to get access to the vaccine.According to the Resolution, individuals and organisations are also encouraged to voluntarily pay for vaccine shots.

When more vaccines are readily available, the government is ready to expand inoculation for all to achieve community immunisation.

As scheduled, another batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine along with vaccines from Covax Facility will be delivered in late April.

The ministry has prepared infrastructure and resources for storage and vaccination, Cuong said. — Vietnam News/ANN

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