The anti-pandemic immunization will be expanded to the 12 to 17-year-old age group, starting in late October in localities that meet the conditions, prioritizing those aged 16 to 17, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).
The information is mentioned in a document issued by the health ministry on October 14.
Accordingly, the inoculation will be carried out basing on the vaccine supply and the pandemic situation in each locality. The MoH noted it has authorized a vaccine for use for this age group on the basis of the producer’s instructions.
The dosage would be two shots, with both being of the same vaccine. Parents or other legal guardians must sign their consent for the children's vaccination, the MoH stressed.
The Covid-19 vaccination will be expanded to adolescents aged 12-17. Photo: Ngoc Tu
The MoH did not explicitly say which types of Covid-19 vaccine would be used for children aged between 12 and 17. So far, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this particular age range.
The shots would be given at fixed vaccination points and mobile vaccination stations. In localities where students are allowed to study in-person, children can be vaccinated at their schools.
"Localities can formulate plans and begin giving out first vaccine shots from later this month, once all conditions are met. Local health departments would cooperate with their education departments to list all students from 6th to 12th grades," Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy director of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the MoH, told The Hanoi Times.
Fully vaccinated children can return to school, just like those in some countries such as Singapore, Khoa said, adding that a large amount of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses would arrive in Vietnam in the near future (out of its order for 51 million doses, slated to arrive mostly in this quarter, with 20 million reserved for adolescents).
"All health departments are urged to boost communications to encourage locals to allow their children in the age group to be vaccinated timely," Khoa said.
According to the MoH, a large number of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Vietnam from now until late 2021. Therefore, localities should prepare the human resources, infrastructure and essential conditions to expand vaccination coverage, towards controlling the pandemic as soon as possible.
Medical workers are injecting Covid-19 vaccines to residents in Hanoi’s suburban district of Me Linh. Photo: Pham Hung
A report by the Department of Preventive Medicine and National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology under the MoH revealed that as of October 10, Vietnam had received over 87 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine and conducted 57 distributions to localities with a total of 81.7 million doses.
By October 12, more than 56.3 million doses of vaccine had been administered to people aged over 18 in Vietnam, with nearly 16.5 million people now fully inoculated and nearly 40 million receiving their first shot.
At a recent virtual meeting with 63 provinces and cities, Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen asked for further speeding up the injection, especially in localities that have only used 50-80% of the allocated vaccines.
A large amount of vaccines is expected to be imported in the coming time. Therefore, to ensure the quick and effective use of vaccines, the MoH asked the provinces and cities to consider the Covid-19 vaccination as the key task and the top priority in the current period.