Vietnam is striving to inject two Covid-19 vaccine doses for 95% of 8.1 million adolescents from 12 to 17 years old in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen said that his ministry is designing a vaccination guideline that will is expected to be issued on October 15.
The MoH is also making a list of children from 3 to 11 years old while seeking coronavirus vaccine sources, Tuyen said, adding that the ministry is gathering ideas from experts to give guidance on vaccination for this group of children.
The Ministry of Education and Training and the MoH are working together to make plans of vaccination for specific groups of children for the school reopening nationwide.
The ministry will then make a plan to immunize children aged below 12, Tuyen noted, adding that from now to the end of this year, at least 120 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in Vietnam.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said one of Vietnam's priorities in the Covid-19 fight is seeking early and expansive access to Covid-19 vaccine sources.
Vaccination against Covid-19 in Hanoi. Photo: Thanh Hai
Vietnam has signed contracts to purchase a total of 51 million vaccine doses from Pfizer, of which 20 million doses are for minors aged between 12 and 17. For children aged below 12, the Government would work with vaccine suppliers and step up domestic vaccine development to conduct child immunization as soon as possible.
Long said the health ministry would learn from other countries’ experience on what type of vaccine to inoculate children aged 12 and above while the education ministry would help in deploying the campaign.
In an interview with The Hanoi Times, Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy director of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the MoH, said the Covid-19 mortality rate in children is not high compared to adults, but whether the disease could leave a long-term impact on children's physical and mental health is pending further research.
Several countries have already immunized children and adolescents aged between 12 and 18 while some others have given the jab to those aged 5-12, or even to those from two years old as in the case of Cuba, Khoa stressed.
"Fully vaccinated children can return to school, just like those in some countries such as Singapore," Khoa said.
The health official noted 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 children).
Vietnam targets that more than 70% of its population aged 18 years and older will receive one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine by late 2021. Over 57 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been injected to people aged 18 years old and above across the country so far. Over 39 million people, or 54% of the total adults, have received the first shots, and 16 others, or over 22%, have been fully vaccinated with two shots.