More than 20 employees at a COVID-19 treatment hospital in Ho Chi Minh City have tested positive for the novel coronavirus despite having received two shots of COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Saturday night, 22 staff members at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases in District 5 had been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the municipal Center for Disease Control (HCDC).
The local health department had decided to turn this hospital into a specialized COVID-19 treatment facility earlier this week.
Among the 22 patients, seven work in the IT department while the other 15 are members of the administrative office.
The first case of the cluster, an employee of the IT department, was detected on Friday.
After stating in his health declaration that he had a mild fever, body aches, and coughing, the employee was directed to a testing area. His result later came back positive for COVID-19.
The hospital collected samples from 596 employees and inpatients on Saturday and detected the other 21 cases.
The entire hospital was locked down from Saturday afternoon for disinfection and contact tracing.
Forty-six COVID-19 patients are being treated at the hospital, of whom ten are seriously ill.
The coronavirus treatment area is completely separated from the rest of the hospital.
There are spaces for these health workers to stay after work as they are not allowed to come into contact with people outside of the treatment area.
A total of 80 health workers in charge of treating COVID-19 patients at the infirmary have tested negative for the novel coronavirus.
Following the lockdown of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, a hospital for COVID-19 treatment in Cu Chi District and the COVID-19 treatment unit of Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital in District 5 were put into operation.
|Health workers are pictured inside the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases, June 12, 2021. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre|
According to the HCDC, the source of infection of this cluster may come from outside of the hospital.
One of the cases in the administrative office is a resident of Block A1 at Ehome 3 Apartment Complex in Binh Tan District.
Blocks A6, A3, and A4 of this apartment complex were previously locked down following the detection of several COVID-19 patients.
On June 5, health workers collected random samples from residents of Block A1 for testing but the hospital employee was not among the tested.
The Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases was the first unit in southern Vietnam to begin COVID-19 inoculation based on the decision of the Ministry of Health.
It has about 900 employees, all of whom have received two shots of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine.
They got their first shots in March and second in April.
The vaccine potency reaches 76 percent within 90 days after the first dose and will be maintained until the second does, a representative from AstraZeneca said, citing clinical trials.
If the interval between two doses is 12 weeks or more, the potency increases to 81 percent.
Dr. Le Quoc Hung, head of the tropical diseases department at Cho Ray Hospital, said that vaccinated people can still contract COVID-19.
The biggest benefit of vaccination is to help patients avoid severe progression of COVID-19 and limit the possibility of spreading the disease to others, Dr. Hung added.
Vietnam has documented 10,337 infections as of Sunday morning, with 3,827 recoveries and 58 deaths.
The country has recorded 7,135 local infections in 39 provinces and cities, including 719 cases in Ho Chi Minh City.