HCMC asks for 6,000 more Covid-19 vaccine doses

By Huu Cong   March 31, 2021 | 04:00 am PT
HCMC asks for 6,000 more Covid-19 vaccine doses
Staff at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC have their samples taken for Covid-19 tests, February 4, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Son.
Ho Chi Minh City has requested urgent approval for 6,000 more Covid-19 vaccine doses to inoculate all Tan Son Nhat airport staff.

In a statement sent to the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, the city administration said Tan Son Nhat International Airport became a Covid-19 hotspot in early February when an infected baggage handler later transmitted the virus to other members of his team.

Until today, the source of transmission behind the outbreak remains unclear.

Giving priority to the group of staff working inside the airport and those who usually come into close contact with passengers is essential to ensure safety for a facility that plays a crucial role in economic development and transportation for not just HCMC but the entire nation, it said.

The city has already received 8,000 vaccine doses as allocated by the Ministry of Health and given the majority to frontline medical workers.

In all, Vietnam has ordered 30 million doses, with 117,600 having arrived. A large-scale vaccination program was launched on March 8, with priority given to medics, military, and police forces that directly fight the pandemic.

The national Expanded Program on Immunization said last month more than four million doses of the Covax-funded AstraZeneca vaccine and 1.48 million other doses Vietnam has ordered would arrive this month and next.

Five days ago, HCMC’s streak of 42 days without community transmission was broken after a Vietnamese woman returned home illegally from Cambodia and traveled to the city where she tested positive. As of Wednesday, there had been no new cases detected in the city.

Vietnam expects to receive 60 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in total this year from multiple sources, though the plan may be partially delayed into 2022.

Of these, the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines sourced via Covax, containing 811,200 doses, would arrive early next month, said the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

The country seeks to secure 150 million Covid-19 vaccine doses this year to cover 70 percent of its population. It expects to start producing its own Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the third quarter, according to the health ministry.

Over 48,000 Vietnamese, mainly frontline workers in the Covid-19 fight, have received their first Covid-19 vaccine shots.

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