Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh demanded the Covid-19 spring vaccination campaign be further sped up and disease prevention measures strengthened, at a national online conference held in Hanoi on January 20.
He made the request in the face of the more serious evolution of the pandemic in Hanoi and some other localities, especially risks of new outbreaks caused by the Omicron variant, while the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, Vietnam’s biggest traditional festival, is nearing.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh addresses the conference. Photo: Nhat Bac
The spring vaccination campaign will be implemented from February 1 to 28 with a view to significantly increasing the Covid-19 vaccination rate, Chinh said, assigning the Ministry of Health (MoH) to prepare a plan for kid vaccination in accordance with recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Vietnam's practical reality.
Heads of the provincial-level anti-pandemic steering committees and people’s committees hold the responsibility for further accelerating the vaccination campaign, the PM noted.
He also requested the health sector to fight corruption and negative behaviors, and build a contingent of medical workers with political mettle and professional expertise.
PM Chinh believed that the health sector will continue building on the past achievements and fulfill all assigned tasks this year.
For his part, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long forecast that Vietnam would be unable to put the Covid-19 pandemic under control in 2022 due to the emergence of the new Omicron variants.
The minister warned of the possible spike of infection cases among the group of fully vaccinated people if they fail to comply with the preventive measures.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long makes a speech at the conference. Photo: Nhat Bac
The Omicron variant has been estimated to be seven times more infectious among the group of unvaccinated people and three times more infectious among fully vaccinated ones, resulting in a soar in the number of cases and serious pressure on the health system. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on disease prevention, Long stressed.
The MoH also proposed the purchase of 21.9 million Pfizer vaccine doses for kids aged 5-11, noting that the vaccination plan for this age group needs to be based on experiences of other countries to ensure its safety and effectiveness.
In late 2021, PM Chinh instructed relevant authorities to consider and seek approval for a Covid-19 vaccination plan for children aged 5 and above so that schools can reopen for on-site classes.
Over 20 countries and territories have begun vaccinating children aged 5-11 against Covid-19, including the US, Canada, Spain, and Italy. However, the World Health Organization is yet to make any recommendation on vaccinating this age group against Covid-19.
Vietnam is currently vaccinating children aged 12-17 against Covid-19. As of mid-January, 7.9 million children had received their first shots and 5.9 million have received two shots.
As of January 20, the country has administered nearly 172 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, with around 73 million people now fully vaccinated. Among the adult population, vaccination coverage is nearly 100% for the first jab, 93.4% for the second jab, and 13.1% for the third jab.
Speaking at the conference, the Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee, Chu Ngoc Anh, reviewed data to demonstrate the results of the municipal health sector's efforts over the past year.
Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee Chu Ngoc Anh speaks at the conference. Photo: Nhat Bac
Ngoc Anh urged the municipal Department of Health to take advantage of the upcoming Tet holiday to speed up the vaccination rate in accordance with instructions of the MoH.
He took the occasion to ask localities in the capital city to learn the experience of Ho Chi Minh City to boost vaccination coverage to boost socio-economic development.
The Hanoi mayor ordered that districts in the city need to accomplish administration of second jabs for over 18-year-old people, especially the elderly and people with chronic diseases.
The second dose vaccination for people aged 12-17 must be finalized in January and booster shots for the adult population will be finished by the end of the first quarter, Ngoc Anh stressed.
He added that locals have to stay vigilant and increase home treatment for the Covid-19 patients with mild or no symptoms.
Hanoi has still recorded around 3,000 new daily Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks and consistently topped the country in the daily tally. It has recorded over 97,200 Covid-19 cases in the fourth coronavirus wave so far.
Therefore, Hanoi will not organize its usual Lunar New Year's Eve firework display at the Thong Nhat Park over Covid-19 concerns, the Hanoi mayor announced.
Earlier this month, Hanoi had announced plans to launch fireworks for 15 minutes in celebration of the Lunar New Year from midnight on February 1, the first day of the Lunar New Year. It had said that the fireworks will be launched from a single location in Thong Nhat Park.
The MoH has urged cities and provinces not to launch Tet fireworks over the risk of new outbreaks overloading the healthcare system.