In recent weeks, the number of Covid-19 cases in the southern metropolis has tended to increase rapidly, with an average of 144 new cases per day. Currently, the city is treating 44 cases of Covid-19 with mild and moderate symptoms including 11 children. Health experts predicted that the number of children infected with Covid-19 will continue to increase, and the best way to protect children now is to vaccinate them against the disease.
According to Dr. Pham Thai Son, Deputy Head of the Covid-19 Treatment Department of the Children's Hospital 2, the hospital did not recorded any Covid-19 cases in the past month, but it admitted 22 children with Covid-19 in July. On average, the Hospital's Department of Examination received about 10 cases of Covid-19 every day, three or four of them were asked to be hospitalized.
Children are hospitalized mainly because of cough, high fever, or other diseases such as sepsis, dengue fever, and digestive. Currently, the Covid-19 Treatment Department is treating six mild cases with underlying diseases including cancer, kidney, and hematology; therefore, they are under close monitoring. Some of them have not been vaccinated or have not had enough vaccinations to prevent disease. Most of the children are in stable health, and none of them need oxygen support, said Dr. Pham Thai Son.
Explaining the rising number of Covid-19 cases amongst children, Dr. Pham Thai Son said that many people are somewhat negligent in epidemic prevention. Besides, Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 variants have been able to spread quickly making the infection rate surge. In preparation for the increasing number of Covid-19 cases amongst children, the Children's Hospital 2 has prepared two departments for the treatment of Covid-19 cases.
At Children's Hospital 1, Associate Professor Phung Nguyen The Nguyen, Head of the hospital's Covid-19 Department, said that the hospital is currently treating two cases of Covid-19. These cases all had mild symptoms, mainly cough and fever, so they had to be hospitalized for monitoring while the City Children's Hospital is treating a severe Covid-19 pediatric case who is receiving antiretroviral therapy and needing oxygen support, the condition is under stable control.
According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tang Chi Thuong, Director of the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City, in the face of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city this week, the rate of booster shots for children from 12 to under 18 years old is only 51.2 percent whereas the national vaccination coverage rate is 71 percent.
The rate of the second dose in this age group was 26.9 percent while the national rate is 39.9 percent and the rate of the third dose for children from 12 to under 18 years old in the city is 25.5 percent while the national rate is 38.1 percent.
In order to continue to improve the vaccination coverage rate of children, the entire machinery of state ought to be more determined in communication about the benefit of vaccination. Moreover, more injection points for children must be set up everywhere for facilitating the task in the remaining three weeks.
In addition, leaders in districts must strengthen supervision of vaccination for children and be responsible before the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City for the low immunization for children, said Dr. Thuong.
The number of deaths and hospitalizations due to the Covid-19 subvariants are on the rebound, parents need to take their children to medical centers to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible. The health sector will coordinate with the education sector to open more injection sites at schools.
Ho Chi Minh City continues to be a locality with a low vaccination coverage rate
The Ministry of Health yesterday said that there were five provinces and cities with a low vaccination coverage rate for children from 5 to under 12 years old of less than 56 percent. They are the capital city of Hanoi with 55.5 percent, the Central Province of Ha Tinh with 48.4 percent, the Central City of Da Nang with 40.2 percent, and the Central Province of Quang Nam with 43.6 percent, and Ho Chi Minh City with 49.2 percent.
Most districts in HCMC have had a decrease in the number of injections compared to the previous week, especially in District 1 with less than 100 children a day.
Due to the low vaccination coverage rate for children, the city Department of Health asked the Department of Education and Training to direct departments of education and training to further promote communication about the benefits of vaccines to encourage parents to bring their children to nearby medical facilities for inoculation.