Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has requested inoculation priority for mothers-to-be and breastfeeding women amid rising coronavirus infections among them.
In an urgent dispatch issued on Monday, the ministry asked all local health authorities and hospitals nationwide to prioritize vaccination for the two groups of women while constantly providing all services intended for them as well as newborns.
Recently, the number of such women infected with the novel coronavirus has increasingly grown and a number of them have died of the infection, the ministry said.
The health ministry also asked all service providers to deploy all necessary measures and comply with the guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and treatment for pregnant women and infants.
Pregnant women from over 13 weeks of gestation must undergo careful screening before vaccination, while those under 13 weeks are subject to inoculation postponement, according to the ministry's guidance.
Sputnik V vaccine is contraindicated in pregnant and lactating women.
Current data show that the risk of severe illness in pregnant women infected with COVID-19 is low, but there is also evidence that viral pneumonia in them is associated with increased risks of preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, and perinatal mortality, the ministry warned.
Hung Vuong Hospital and Tu Du Hospital, the two largest obstetric and gynecological service providers in Ho Chi Minh City, have been assigned to set up treatment quarters for pregnant women with COVID-19.
By Sunday evening, the numbers of people receiving the first and second doses nationwide had topped 15.27 million and 1.79 million, respectively, the health ministry reported.
The country needs to have 150 million vaccine doses to vaccinate two-thirds of its 98-million population, but it has so far got only some 24 million doses from different sources.
Since the pandemic hit Vietnam in early 2020, the country has documented 348,059 COVID-19 cases, including 147,667 recoveries and 8,277 deaths.
The death toll represents 2.4 percent of the total number of patients, equal to the global rate.
Except Cao Bang, the coronavirus has now spread to 62 out of the country’s 63 cities and provinces, with Ho Chi Minh City topping the list with nearly 176,000 cases, following by Binh Duong and Long An with more than 70,200 and 17,800 cases, respectively.