64 Vietnamese inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine before South Sudan deployment

By Le Phuong, Huu Khoa   March 16, 2021 | 05:30 am PT
64 Vietnamese inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine before South Sudan deployment
A Vietnamese military medic receives her first shot of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the Military 175 Hospital in HCMC before her peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, March 16, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
A total 64 Vietnamese military medics set to join a U.N. peacekeeping mission to South Sudan received their first AstraZeneca Covid-19 shots Tuesday.

They received the first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the British-Swedish company in collaboration with Oxford University at Ho Chi Minh City Military 175 Hospital. Their inoculation was part of Vietnam’s first batch of 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived late last month.

Since Vietnam began its mass vaccination campaign on March 8, only medical staff and Covid-19 frontline workers have been eligible for inoculation.

The doctors from Vietnam’s second and third field hospitals are scheduled to embark for South Sudan on March 24 as part of the United Nations peacekeeping forces.

According to protocol, each will be given two doses of the vaccine, 12 weeks apart. After Tuesday's first injection, the medics would get their second dose in South Sudan.

Before injection, they had their health screened and signed a Covid-19 vaccination consent form.

"I felt a little nervous but very reassured because I had my health checked and received close monitoring after injection," said Captain Tran Thuan Trang, a 35-year-old nurse.

After vaccination, she said she would feel "more confident and secure" when participating in her work in South Sudan where the Covid-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc.

Vietnam has enlarged its role in U.N. peacekeeping and is taking part in more operations in Africa.

In October 2018, for the first time, Vietnam sent a team of military doctors to work at the U.N. field hospital in South Sudan. The second such team left for South Sudan in October 2019.

South Sudan has recorded over 9,500 infections and 104 deaths so far.

Last year, the U.N. requested Vietnam to set up a Covid-19 testing center in South Sudan thanks to its successful efforts to contain the disease. The testing center would help increase the U.N.’s capability to fight Covid-19 across the area, overseen by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

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