Covid vaccination refusal must be confirmed in print: official

By Chi Le   June 28, 2022 | 03:00 am PT
Covid vaccination refusal must be confirmed in print: official
A man receives a Covid-19 vaccine shot in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
People should sign forms for refusing Covid-19 vaccination to "highlight their responsibilities" in the Covid-19 fight, the General Department of Preventive Medicine said.

"Covid-19 vaccination is a requirement in the pandemic fight. As such, people need to get vaccinated as per existing regulations and at the right doses. The fact that localities are requesting people to sign forms to ‘take responsibility’ is to show their responsibility to the people," Phan Trong Lan, head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine, told press Monday.

The statement was made as Covid-19 vaccination was slowing down in several regions, with many people refusing to get booster shots since they've already developed certain degrees of immunity from their previous shots and Covid-19 infections.

The Ministry of Health has requested southern Vietnam localities to use up all their distributed vaccine doses before June ends, adding that people must sign forms to "take responsibility" if their decision not to get vaccinated causes an outbreak.

The ministry however did not respond to the press regarding whether its decisions were based on any basis or precedents.

Lan said the coronavirus is unlike others as it is constantly evolving; other viruses would decline over time and become endemic. But for Covid-19, the original strain has evolved into many, changing their infection rates and severity. The World Health Organization (WHO) said regions that have low vaccination rates are still "unsafe" and outbreaks can still occur.

"Besides, studies have shown that coronavirus patients that receive booster shots, compared to those who don't, have very high amounts of antibodies, therefore a longer protection period. As such, vaccines remain as the shield to protect the community in the coming time," he said.

Regarding the fact that people are worried about possible side effects of vaccination, Lan said the law has already specified compensations for people in such cases. For example, those becoming disabled due to vaccination side effects would be compensated with 30 months' worth of salary, among other costs. If someone dies due to side effects, their funeral costs would be covered with 10 months' worth of basic wage, and their family would receive VND100 million ($4,303). There are other policies to cover hospitalization costs, among others, if they are caused by vaccine side effects.

Duong Thi Hong, deputy head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said the national immunization program currently manages around 15 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, while around 16 million people still need their third shots.

"It means that if the vaccination progress goes well, the doses in stock might not be enough," she said.

"Covid-19 infections don't leave behind lasting immunity like measles and rubella do, so booster shots are very important to bolster immunity. Vaccination is also done safely these days," she added, saying authorities should encourage people to get vaccinated.

Amid low demand for Covid-19 vaccination, the national immunization program is instructing localities to use up their doses efficiently and not let any go to waste.

As of June 25, Vietnam has given its population around 230 million Covid-19 vaccine shots. Around 66 percent of the population has received their third dose.

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