Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen said the ministry has developed a plan to inoculate young children in this age group and has submitted the plan to the Government.
Once the Government gives the nod, it would immediately work with suppliers to secure a sufficient amount at the earliest time to get the vaccination process started, Tuyen said during a recent discussion hosted by the Vietnam Government Portal, without elaborating further about the types of vaccines to be used or the logistics involved.
Vietnam, with a population of about 100 million people, as of January 2 has received 195 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 68 million as aid, out of the committed 227 million doses. Over 155 million doses have been administered so far.
Seventy-four percent of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine (99 percent of adults have had at least one dose), and 70 percent have been fully vaccinated, basically meeting the WHO's recommendations six months ahead of schedule.
In 2022, Tuyen said the health ministry will focus on offering third shots for high-risk groups like patients with HIV, kidney failure, hepatitis B, cirrhosis, etc. in addition to pushing coverage of vaccines for children, now that the country has enough doses needed for the adult population.
The official noted that in the inoculation efforts for children, the role of parents is important in bringing their children to get the shots in line with the health ministry's guidelines.
Tuyen said the current vaccination progress along with plans for additional/booster shots will help to ensure the success of the Government's safe, flexible adaptation to and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic – meant to be a mindset shift from the previous so-called Zero COVID strategy – to achieve both pandemic prevention and control and socio-economic development.
In a COVID-19 report which the Government submitted to the National Assembly during the ongoing extraordinary session, it says efforts are being made to ensure no people above 50 years or people with underlying health issues remain unvaccinated, complete the administration of second doses for children aged 12-17 in January 2022, and third doses for adults within the first quarter of the year.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu said vaccine diplomacy was a highlight, given that the vaccine shortage has still been an issue, especially during the times of outbreaks, contributing to Vietnam’s high vaccination rate.