The Vietnamese Prime Minister has directed relevant ministries to secure supplies of coronavirus vaccines suitable for students so that they can be immunized and return to schools soon.
PM Pham Minh Chinh made the direction at an online national conference held on Saturday to review the performance of the education sector during the previous school year and outline the tasks for the upcoming semester.
The government chief directed the Ministry of Education and Training to coordinate with the Ministry of Health in launching a COVID-19 vaccination program for students.
The ministries should contact various vaccine suppliers to seek kinds of vaccine suitable for people aged from 12 and to set up vaccination plans for students so that all fully vaccinated students can return to schools soon, the PM said.
During the past school year, the education sector has taken effective measures for epidemic prevent and control with the goal of “ensuring the health and safety of students, teachers first” and implemented the motto of “suspending classes without stopping learning,” Deputy Minister of Education and Training Hoang Minh Son told the conference.
Meanwhile, leaders of different localities proposed giving inoculation priority to students.
Nguyen Thi Quyen Thanh, deputy chairperson of Vinh Long province’s administration, said that 91 percent of local teachers have received the first vaccine jabs while those having got two full doses have reached 44 percent.
Meanwhile, students have yet to be immunized, so they have had to attend online classes, Thanh said, adding that this learning method is ineffective, especially for about 14,000 needy students.
There should be solutions to vaccinate students aged 12 years and older so that they can go back to school as soon as possible.
Sharing the same opinion, Nguyen Thi Thanh Lich, deputy chairwoman of Gia Lai Province, said a student vaccination program should be deployed soon to enable students to study directly at school, since the virtual class model is hard to apply in poverty-stricken areas with poor access to Internet and technology devices.
At an online meeting with Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long on July 14, general director of Pfizer Vietnam Co., Ltd. John Paul Pullicino, pledged to provide Vietnam with 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for children aged from 12 to 18 in the fourth quarter of this year.
Vietnam now has nine million people in this age group.
By Friday evening, the numbers of people receiving the first and second vaccine jabs nationwide had reached over 16.6 million and 2.2 million, respectively, the health ministry reported.
Vietnam needs to secure 150 million vaccine doses to inoculate two-thirds of its 98-million population, but it has so far got only some 27 million vaccine doses from different sources, including donations.
Since the pandemic hit the country in early 2020, the country has documented over 410,000 COVID-19 cases, including 10,053 deaths, equivalent to 2.4 percent, or 0.3 percentage points higher than the global mortality rate, the ministry’s data shows.