HANOI, March 5 (Vietnam News/ANN): Vaccinations using the recently-imported AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are expected to start on Monday (March 8), Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long informed a meeting of the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control.
The first batch comprising over 117,600 doses of the vaccine manufactured in the Republic of Korea (RoK), arrived in Việt Nam on February 24. After holding working sessions with the producer, Vietnam has obtained an accreditation certificate for the batch from the RoK.
Meanwhile, Vietnam recorded six new cases of Covid-19 infection on Friday night (March 4), bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 2,494, according to its Ministry of Health.
The new infections, all imported, were detected in the southern provinces of Binh Duong, Tay Ninh and Kien Giang.
As many as 1,920 patients have been given the all-clear, the ministry said, adding that nearly 49,600 people are being quarantined and monitored.
The latest wave of Covid-19 infections hit Vietnam on Jan. 28, with 879 community cases so far confirmed in 13 cities and provinces.
For the vaccination programme, Long said the doses, verified by the ministry, met the conditions for vaccination in Vietnam.
On Saturday (March 6), the health minister chaired a conference to launch the vaccination plan and provide training for medical staff nationwide in the use and storage of the vaccine, as well as the handling of post-injection complications.
According to the official, priority for vaccination will be given to people at the front line of the fight against Covid-19, including health, army, police, customs and immigration personnel; those working in sectors offering essential services like aviation, transport, tourism and education; people with chronic illnesses or above 65 years old; those living in pandemic-hit areas; the poor and beneficiaries of social welfare.
Those who get the shots will be monitored via digital health records and receive e-certificates for their completion of inoculation.
Five million doses of vaccines, mostly manufactured by AstraZeneca, are expected to be provided to Việt Nam this year through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility programme conducted by the World Health Organization, GAVI, UNICEF and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Another 25 million doses under this initiative are slated to arrive in Vietnam next year.
At the meeting of the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said the safety of the vaccination programme should be ensured at the highest level as a task of utmost importance.
“The mass vaccination might have incidents. If we don’t prepare well, the incidents will turn into serious ones, ” he told the meeting.
He urged for accelerating the research and production of locally-made vaccines, saying “the process must follow all of the requested steps but must be completed as soon as possible”.
Vietnam has three local vaccine candidates, one of which has finished the first trial phase with good results and is in the second phase. The other two will enter human trials in the near future.
Dam also urged people to maintain their vigilance and asked schools, healthcare facilities, markets, supermarkets and hotels to self assess their safety level and update it on a Covid-19 safety map at antoancovid.vn.
Venues that fail to update the safety level will have their activities suspended, he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister tasked the health ministry, the ministries of foreign affairs, culture, sports and tourism with mapping out plans and creating conditions for those who have been vaccinated in other countries to enter Việt Nam in the coming time while still ensuring safety. - Vietnam News/ANN