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Health Ministry denies oversupply of Covid-19 vaccines

Duong Thi Hong, Deputy Director of the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, has confirmed that the current Covid-19 vaccine supply is only enough to give booster shots.

Hong made the statement when many people decided not to get the booster dose, saying that they had immunity from the basic shots or the infections. 

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has repeatedly asked southern provinces to complete booster dose vaccinations and use the vaccines they were allocated before June 30. In HCM City, the people who refuse vaccinations must commit that they will take responsibility if the pandemic spreads because of them.

According to Hong, Vietnam is one of the countries with encouraging outcomes in the first two vaccinations against Covid-19. 

The healthcare sector kicked off a plan to give the first booster shot (third dose) and second booster shot (fourth dose) in May as instructed by the government.

Vaccines are available at all vaccination points, which open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. People can get vaccinations at these points or even at home to ensure the coverage of the booster doses. 

The healthcare sector has joined forces with local authorities to run campaigns to persuade people to get booster shots so as to reach immunization coverage for herd immunity.

It is estimated that 230 million shots have been given and safety in vaccinations has been ensured.

Regarding the results of booster shots in the last 10 days (June 17-26), the vaccination speed increased by 2.5 times compared with the first 10 days of June (June 1-10), when only 100,000 shots were given.

Regarding the first booster shot, as of June 26, Vietnam had given 44.4 million doses (66 percent). In the last 10 days, the second booster shot given to adults increased by 2.1 times over the first 10 days of June.

The Health Ministry also has campaigns on giving a second booster shot to people at high risk, including those aged 50 and over; people aged 18 and over who suffer from immunodeficiency, and those at high risk of being exposed to Covid.

As of June 26, about 3.4 million people have had four shots (first two shots plus two booster shots). In the last 10 days, the fourth shot given to adults increased by 2.9 times compared with the early days of June.

Regarding the third shot to teenagers aged 12-17, nearly 345,000 shots were given safely.

The reactions after the third injection are common, such as swelling and pain at the injection site, fever, shiver, headache, muscle pain, joint pain and fatigue, similar to those after the first 2 injections. The number of severe reactions after the third dose vaccination is very low, just 3 cases in every 10 million shots.

Hong admitted that the vaccination campaign is facing difficulties. Though the pandemic has not been fully contained and there is still a possibility of new coronavirus variant, people still don’t want booster shots.

“People, who contracted Covid-19, don’t understand the importance of booster shots. They think that they get immunity after two basic shots. Meanwhile, the immunity is not sustainable and booster shots are extremely important,” she said.

“Many people have heard from unofficial sources that booster shots would affect their health, so they refuse injection. This is the biggest difficulty for immunization in Vietnam at this time,” she said.

The official affirmed that Vietnam has just enough vaccines to give booster shots to people based on demand from localities and that there is no excess. 

She said the healthcare sector is not urging people to get booster shots because it has an excess of vaccines. She said that if the vaccines are not used effectively for those who are eligible, this will be a big waste of vaccines.

There are 15 million vaccine doses in stock.

Ngoc Trang



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