HCMC to administer 836,000 Covid vaccine doses in a week

By Le Phuong, Le Cam   June 17, 2021 | 05:54 am PT
HCMC to administer 836,000 Covid vaccine doses in a week
Batches of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are transported from Hanoi to a storage facility of the Pasteur Institute in HCMC, June 17, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
HCMC plans to use up all 836,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses it has received from the Health Ministry within a week starting Saturday.

The AstraZeneca vaccine doses, part of a batch of 966,320 doses provided by Japan on Wednesday, were taken to a storage facility at HCMC's Pasteur Institute Thursday, said deputy health minister Nguyen Truong Son.

Normally, a vaccine batch imported into Vietnam would need to be evaluated over 48 hours before it is approved for use. But the ministry will streamline the process so the shots could be given sooner, Son said.

The vaccine approval process is expected to be completed by Friday and shots could be given starting Saturday. The doses would be distributed throughout around 1,000 vaccination stations in the city, he said.

"The vaccination program will happen over five to seven days, with around 786,000 doses given to priority groups, and around 50,000 shots given to soldiers and police officers in HCMC," he said, noting that the expiration date for the new doses is a relatively long way to go.

On Thursday, HCMC recorded 137 Covid-19 cases, the highest number of infections observed within 24 hours for the southern metropolis. Vietnam recorded 503 local Covid-19 cases the same day, a new high for the nation's daily tally since the pandemic hit early last year.

HCMC now has 1,197 local Covid-19 cases, behind only Bac Giang with 5,007 and Bac Ninh with 1,454.

The city, home to more than 7.2 million people of 18 years old or older, has so far inoculated over 70,000 people among priority groups. With the new doses, around a million citizens in HCMC could be vaccinated.

Nationwide, over 1.5 million people have been vaccinated against Covid-19, mainly frontline fighters against the pandemic.

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