13 localities with Covid-19 outbreaks first in line for vaccination

By Viet Tuan, Le Nga   March 6, 2021 | 08:00 pm GMT+7
13 localities with Covid-19 outbreaks first in line for vaccination
A volunteer is injected with Nanocovax, a Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccine, as part of its second phase of human trials, February 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Thirteen provinces and cities with Covid-19 outbreaks would be the first to be vaccinated until April, according to an inoculation schedule until 2022 issued by the Health Ministry Saturday.

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Duong, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hung Yen, Hoa Binh, Gia Lai, Binh Duong, Dien Bien and Ha Giang would receive around 117,600 vaccine doses by AstraZeneca, delivered to Vietnam last month. First prioritized are those on the frontline of the coronavirus fight, including medical workers treating Covid-19 patients, officials commandeering the Covid-19 fight, contact tracers, reporters and the army.

Those who have been vaccinated would be monitored through their digital health profiles, and would receive a digital certification proving they have been inoculated.

Future vaccination schedules would be rolled out in accordance with the quantity of batches available, overseen by the health ministry. Besides cities and provinces with outbreaks, densely populated areas with multiple industrial complexes and traffic routes would also be prioritized for Covid-19 vaccination, according to the schedule.

The central government's budget would be used to buy vaccines and relevant equipment like syringes, as well as for transportation and storing. Localities could also use their own budget for the same purposes.

On Saturday, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the first vaccine shots would be reserved for the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, its counterpart in HCMC and northern Hai Duong Province, currently Vietnam's biggest Covid-19 hotspot.

"There are few vaccine doses, so it's impossible to distribute them to all 63 cities and provinces," he said, adding that besides the aforementioned locations, some other medical facilities treating Covid-19 patients would receive some vaccine shots first too.

The exact number of vaccine doses to be distributed to these locations has yet to be confirmed.

Vietnam expects to begin vaccinating prioritized groups starting next Monday with the first batch of 117,600 AstraZeneca vaccine doses.

The country also expects to receive around 150 million vaccine doses by next year to cover 70 percent of its population. The vaccine doses, to be divided into seven batches, would be from British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, global vaccine access mechanism Covax, and domestic sources.

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