NA’s Q&A session: Health Minister urges localities to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations

Wednesday, 2021-11-10 16:54:46
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Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long at the session (Photo: VNA)
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NDO/VNA – Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long urged localities nationwide to increase COVID-19 vaccine coverage as soon as possible during a question-and-answer session during the 15th legislature’s second sitting in Hanoi on November 10.

At the session, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long answered questions regarding anti-pandemic and vaccine strategies; the supply and management of medical supplies, COVID-19 medicines and biological products; policies for frontliners, resources for health care system at the grassroots level to improve their capacity, especially those in disadvantaged areas; orientations for training and special incentives for medical staff, and others.

According to him, the Ministry of Health issued Decision No.4800/QD-BYT that only requires testing for those of high-risk groups, those from at-risk areas or areas subject to lockdown, every 7-14 days. He said the ministry does not ask citizens to take tests within 72 hours, except those wishing to travel abroad or returning from pandemic-hit areas.

He cited the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s forecast as saying that COVID-19 will become similar to influenza by 2023. In the near future, the ministry will work with WHO to gain more experience in pandemic forecasting.

As the pandemic will remain complicated between now and the year’s end, Long asked localities to pay further attention to pandemic prevention and control, especially accelerating vaccinations. He added that the vaccine strategy has been a success in three aspects.

About vaccine purchase and import, he said Vietnam has contracted for nearly 200 million doses, which could be higher in the near future and enough for fully vaccinating people aged above 12. For booster shots, a plan will be devised later this year.

Vietnam has so far given over 90 million shots, he said, adding that the ministry directed localities to speed up vaccinations, including first and second shots.

On vaccine efficiency, he affirmed that vaccines have proved safe and effective in reducing serious cases, with efficiency up to 93-96 percent.

Regarding questions about when Vietnam will approve and put into use domestic vaccines, he said two units are in the third stage of clinical trials. The ministry will reduce administrative procedures to facilitate the approval process.