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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine dearth worries first dose recipients in Ho Chi Minh City

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine dearth worries first dose recipients in Ho Chi Minh City

Saturday, September 04, 2021, 11:23 GMT+7
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine dearth worries first dose recipients in Ho Chi Minh City
A medical worker holds a box of Moderna vaccine vials. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A shortage of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses has concerned many people who were administered with this type of vaccine in their first injection in Ho Chi Minh City.

Over the past few days, those who received their first Moderna shots in the southern city more than a month ago have reached out over the phone to query the schedule of their second jabs, according to Tran Van Khanh, director of Le Van Thinh Hospital in Thu Duc City.

They should have got their second shot 28 days after their first, according to the general recommendation.

“We fully understand people’s queries, but the Moderna vaccine allocations have run dry,” Khanh said. 

“We explained the situation to this group of vaccine recipients and advised them to wait a little longer.”

Many other hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City have also used up their Moderna vaccine allocations like Le Van Thinh Hospital.

The Ministry of Health earlier allocated Ho Chi Minh City 571,200 Moderna vaccine doses, 4,456,490 AstraZeneca shots, 312,510 Pfizer jabs, and 5,009,000 Vero Cell doses.

While shipments of the latter three vaccines arrived in Ho Chi Minh City substaintially, there has been no new batches of Moderna vaccine delivered to the city.

In addition to the vaccine shortage, Dr. Nguyen Huy Luan, head of the immunization unit at the Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University Hospital, assessed that vaccine management at many medical units was improper as they did not save certain quantities of Moderna vaccine for the second shots, but used all of the allocations for the first jabs.

A medical worker prepares to administer a Moderna vaccine shot to a man above 65 years old in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Q. Dinh / Tuoi Tre
A medical worker prepares to administer a Moderna vaccine shot to a man above 65 years old in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Q. Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Medical experts have assured people waiting for their second Moderna vaccine doses that there are already significant immune effects after the first injection.

In addition, although the initial recommended interval was 28 days between doses for the Moderna vaccine, the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts has updated its guidance affirming that people can wait up to 42 days between two doses.

Especially, some countries with high rates of COVID-19 infections and severe shortages of vaccine supply have extended the interval between the doses to 12 weeks in order to achieve equal first dose coverage among priority groups.

On the other hand, Dr. Luan and Assoc. Prof. Le Dinh Thanh, director of Thong Nhat Hospital, suggested using Pfizer vaccine to administer people who have received one dose of Moderna vaccine for their second shot.

Luan said that some countries in Europe have mixed and matched the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which have brought about initial positive effects, especially in people over 65 years old with underlying diseases.

Meanwhile, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health is trying to find a new vaccine source to offset the delayed signing of a purchase agreement of five million Moderna vaccine doses, which are expected to be shipped to the country in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2022.

In addition, the municipal People’s Committee is working with relevant units to require Moderna Inc. to ensure a minimum supply of two million doses delivered in October, as well as negotiating with the American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company to buy at least ten million more doses with a shipping date scheduled for the second quarter of 2022.

As of Thursday, Ho Chi Minh City had administered its people with 6,268,327 COVID-19 vaccine doses, of which 5,899,379 had received the first shots and 368,948 had got the second injections.

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