The Ministry of Health urges to speed up Covid-19 vaccination for children for safe school opening (Photo: SGGP)
The appearance of sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 of Omicron has increased the number of Covid-19 cases. Meanwhile, although vaccination is an effective and sustainable measure to prevent epidemics, Covid-19 vaccination coverage with third and fourth doses and for children is low. Professor Dang Duc Anh, Director of the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said that under the direction of the Government, the Ministry of Health and related agencies, the Covid-19 vaccine vaccination is being widely deployed throughout the country.
Currently, the vaccination coverage rates with third and fourth doses for people aged 18 years and older and for children are higher than months before.
However, local administrations should speed up the inoculation coverage rate for booster shots, especially for children, which need to be completed in August and the third quarter of this year, before they return to school. To achieve the set goals, there should be close coordination between the health sector, education, ministries, agencies and localities.
He pointed out several culprits for the relatively low vaccination rate for children from 5 to under 12 years old including parents' concerns about the effects of vaccines on children’s health.
Therefore, the health sector has proposed to coordinate with the education sector to make a list of unvaccinated children; the two sectors will encourage parents to take their children to nearby infirmaries for immunization.
At the same time, the two sectors will strengthen communication so that people understand the effectiveness and safety of the Covid-19 vaccine, helping families feel more secure when letting their children get vaccinated.
Presently, only about 50 percent of children in this age group have been vaccinated. Many children have been vaccinated in the past time but not many of them experience side effects and adverse events after vaccination, so the vaccine proves safe for children in the age group. Hence, parents should let their children get vaccinated before the new academic year.
According to a report by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the number of Covid-19 vaccines in stock in the country is currently about 17.9 million doses, of which mainly the Pfizer vaccine with the expiry date falling in September and 2.9 million doses of Vero Cell with the expiration date in October 2023.
As of August 7, over 248.2 million Covid-19 vaccines of all kinds have been administered across the country. More than 48.6 million people in the age group of 18 and over got the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine reaching 74 percent while more than 10.5 million people got the fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, reaching 54.5 percent.
More than 3.2 million children in the group of 12-17 years old received the booster shot reaching 37.7 percent. Over 12.6 million children from 5 to under 12 years old have been vaccinated.