Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha has asked the Ministry of Health (MoH) to order or seek donations of the Covid-19 vaccine to ensure sufficient vaccine supply for the expanded immunization program.
"Vietnam has identified the Covid-19 vaccine as key to preventing the outbreak," Ha said.
He noted that in May this year, the Ministry of Health will establish a steering committee led by the Vietnam Drug Administration to take responsibility for the program.
Special priority mechanisms will be given to combination vaccines not yet introduced in the National Expanded Vaccination Program in 2023-25 and to research and production of Covid-19 vaccines, according to the MoH.
A child gets vaccinated against Covid-19 in Hanoi's Thanh Xuan District. Photo: Thai San/The Hanoi Times
The national program to ensure the supply of Covid-19 vaccine will focus on human resources training, which will help train local experts and attract foreign specialists to help with research and production.
Vietnam has had the Expanded Vaccination Program in place since 1981. Since then, it has been supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The program has been expanded to include 12 free vaccines for children from newborns to 10 years of age and the Covid-19 vaccine.
According to an MoH report, Vietnam recorded 1,050 new Covid-19 cases on May 14, the lowest daily number in the past month. The new cases bring the country's total number of Covid-19 infections since the outbreak to nearly 11.6 million.
Vietnam has administered more than 266 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
The ministry plans to continue accelerating Covid-19 vaccination, especially for high-risk cases, children aged five to under 12 years, and those living in large cities and areas considered key tourist spots with high numbers of international visitors.