Ho Chi Minh City has officially shortened the interval between two shots of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to at least six weeks, as it is accelerating to reach full immunization coverage for local residents.
In a dispatch issued on Friday, the city’s administration approved the Department of Health’s proposal to reduce the interval between the first jab of AstraZeneca vaccine and the second shot of the same type or the Pfizer vaccine, as an alternative, to six weeks from the current gap of 4-12 weeks.
Over the past time, the city has complied with the Ministry of Health’s guidance on the intervals between vaccine doses, but the gap may be cut to six weeks for AstraZeneca in special circumstances, as the method has been applied effectively in the city and some other localities, said Dr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City health department.
The department, therefore, proposed shortening the AstraZeneca vaccination interval for all local residents.
According to the AstraZeneca manufacturer’s directions for use, the second jab should be given about four to 12 weeks after the first dose.
Meanwhile, the interval applied to most other vaccines is three or four weeks.
All vaccination points are required to give explanations to people about the vaccine’s efficacy and safety in association with the intervals between the two doses before they get vaccinated, the department said.
By Thursday, Ho Chi Minh City, whose population is over nine million, had administered over 6.79 million first shots and 2.21 million second jabs to local residents aged 18 and over, the health ministry’s data shows.
Nationwide, the corresponding figures are more than 29 million and some seven million.
Since the pandemic erupted in Vietnam in early 2020, the country has registered 728,435 patients, including 493,488 recoveries and 18,017 fatalities, the ministry reported on Thursday evening.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths have amounted to 359,227 and 13,984.