PM orders Covid-19 inoculation starting this week

By Huu Cong   March 2, 2021 | 03:00 am PT
PM orders Covid-19 inoculation starting this week
Containers of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine arrive at Tan Son Nhat Airport, HCMC, Feb. 24, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the Health Ministry to commence Covid-19 vaccination for prioritized groups from this week.

The poor, families under preferential treatment and some prioritized groups approved by the government need to be inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine quickly, Phuc told a Tuesday meeting.

Earlier, the government had approved a list of prioritized groups to be vaccinated against Covid-19, which included frontline workers and military, police forces.

Others in the priority list are teachers, diplomatic personnel, customs and immigration officers, those working in essential services like transport, people aged 65 and above, and those with chronic diseases that make them more vulnerable to the disease.

People who are seeking to study or work abroad or are living in pandemic-hit areas are also listed.

While the production of domestic vaccines is underway, the government has speeded up foreign procurement to inoculate prioritized groups.

It has ordered 30 million doses from AstraZeneca, with the first batch of 117,600 arriving in Ho Chi Minh City on a flight from Seoul last Wednesday, to be administered to medical workers, contact tracers and officials on Covid-19 prevention and control committees, among other frontline personnel.

Vietnam is working with South Korea to evaluate the quality of the batch before starting a large-scale vaccination campaign to ensure absolute safety, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said Saturday.

Through Covax, a global mechanism for developing, manufacturing and procuring Covid-19 vaccines and supply for member countries, Vietnam would receive an additional 4.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine within the first half of this year as well as 33 million more in the third quarter.

The government has said it is stepping up negotiations with vaccine manufacturers in the U.S., Russia and some other countries to ensure it could obtain a total 150 million doses to cover 70 percent of its population. It has approved the use of Moderna and Sputnik V.

Vietnam, a country of 98 million people, has reported 849 community transmissions in 13 cities and provinces during the ongoing outbreak that returned to the country on Jan. 28 after nearly two infection-free months.

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