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Ho Chi Minh City to kick off largest-ever COVID-19 vaccination drive on weekend

Ho Chi Minh City to kick off largest-ever COVID-19 vaccination drive on weekend

Friday, June 18, 2021, 18:00 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City to kick off largest-ever COVID-19 vaccination drive on weekend
Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son is seen during an inspection of the vaccine storage at the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute on June 17, 2021. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A mass coronavirus inoculation drive with over 800,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses will be carried out in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday at around 1,000 vaccination points, a high-ranking health official has said.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son made the statement on Thursday when he joined the municipal Pasteur Institute to inspect the storage of 836,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine jabs having been allocated by the central government to the city.

These doses, developed by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, are among nearly one million shots of the vaccine the Japanese government donated to Vietnam on Wednesday. 

This allocation reflected a priority the government and the National Vaccine Steering Board has given to the nine-million-strong city to help it expand the immunization coverage and thereby drive back the increasing COVID-19 spread, which has so far affected the entire southern city, Deputy Minister Son said. 

The vaccine doses underwent required tests lasting for 48 hours at the Vaccine Testing Institute for safety certification before use, the deputy minister said.

This supplied photo shows the AstraZeneca vaccine shipment upon its arrival in the Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi on late June 16, 2021.

This supplied photo shows the AstraZeneca vaccine shipment upon its arrival at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on June 16, 2021.

The vaccination drive is expected to start on Saturday at 1,000 points of inoculation citywide and will last for five or seven days, making it the largest-ever mass COVID-19 immunization in the city.

The inoculation will be intended for priority subjects designated by the government and others including essential service providers, teachers, health workers, people working at administrative agencies, people over 65 years old, and workers at industrial parks and export processing zones.

Each point will vaccinate 200 people per day, which means a total of 200,000 people can receive injections per day.

City authorities have drawn up a plan to mobilize all possible health workers and facilities for the mass inoculation, the deputy minister said, adding that lists of vaccination must be made available within Friday.

“It is a principle that this mass immunization is conducted quickly but must ensure absolute safety for vaccinated people,” Son requested.

Ho Chi Minh City health authorities recently reported that around 11,000 locals have been vaccinated since June 3, bringing the total number of inoculated people to about 84,000 since the city began its immunization program on March 8.

Nationwide, nearly two million vaccine shots had been administered and 90,000 people had received the full two doses by Thursday, according to the health ministry's data. 

The ministry confirmed 121 new coronavirus cases at noon on Friday, including 119 domestic and two imported cases, of which 59 were detected Ho Chi Minh City.

The new cases have taken the Southeast Asian country’s tally of patients to 12,352, including 62 deaths, since early 2020.

Since April 27, when the pandemic’s fourth wave appeared in Vietnam, the country has documented 9,114 domestic infections.

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Vinh Tho / Tuoi Tre News

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