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VN plans to secure enough COVID-19 vaccines for booster shots by June 2022, in talks for shots for children aged 5-11

The Government Office on Wednesday has released Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s conclusions after the meeting on COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics held on Sunday.

An elderly woman in Nam Dinh City, the northern province of Nam Dinh, receives her second dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Van Dat

The Government leader gave the order that administration of second vaccine doses for all adults in the country must be wrapped up by December 15, 2021, or by year’s end at the latest, especially for people over 50 years old with underlying health conditions.

The health minister and the chairs of the municipal/provincial people's committees of the localities that fail to meet this target will be held accountable in front of the Government and PM Chinh himself.

So far, all COVID-19 vaccines have been given free of charge in Vietnam, but PM said there must be a plan to ‘socialise’ the vaccination to be submitted to the Politburo.

This essentially means the COVID-19 vaccines and injections will be treated as a normal commodity and service in case COVID-19 turns into an endemic disease that requires frequent booster shots.

He wants the plan to vaccinate children aged 5-11 before December 10, 2021, and contracts for vaccines for this age group must be signed in December 2021.

Relevant agencies are asked to closely follow the progress of delivery and vaccination to ensure that there are enough vaccines for the 3rd dose for all people aged 18 and above before June 2022, and at the same, expediting the administration of the third dose, with priority given to people aged 50 and older and those on the front lines of COVID-19 prevention and control.

The health ministry is ordered to review and put forward recommendations for booster shots for children aged 12-18.

Relevant authorities and local governments should provide timely, sufficient, transparent information to the public on vaccine allocation plans, types of vaccines, vaccination progress, and side effects, to give them ‘peace of mind’ and avoid ‘discrimination’ between the different COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for use in Vietnam.

Talking with the media on Wednesday, deputy health minister Do Xuan Tuyen said that Vietnam is negotiating with manufacturers for COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11, now that the country has secured enough doses for those aged 12 and above.

He said since the pandemic broke out, Vietnam has been actively seeking vaccine access from different sources, from purchase deals to donations from countries and organisations.

To date, through supply agreements, COVAX commitments and other sources, Vietnam has secured a sufficient number of vaccines to provide two shots plus a booster dose in the future, and for children aged 12-17. Over 150 million doses have already arrived, including nearly 71.5 million bought with the State budget and 79 million doses donated, out of the 200 million the country is slated to have for 2021.

122.9 million doses have been administered for adults, including 54 million second shots, as of today.

First dose coverage in Vietnam’s adult population has hit 97 per cent, with 70 per cent double vaccinated already.

About 5 million doses of vaccine have been administered for children aged 12-17 so far, using Pfizer vaccines, with first dose coverage reaching 53.6 per cent and second dose coverage at 10.8 per cent.

Source: Vietnam News

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