Ho Chi Minh City will commence its coronavirus immunization for around 780,000 local children aged 12 to 17 on Wednesday, local health authorities announced.
Cu Chi District and District 1 have been selected as pioneers before the mass inoculation can be deployed citywide, Nguyen Huu Hung, deputy director of the municipal Department of Health, said on Tuesday.
“The city has basically put the COVID-19 pandemic under control, but there remain risks of infection," Hung emphasized.
"We therefore want to vaccinate children as soon as possible.
"However, safety must be the top priority.”
Under the Ministry of Health’s previous guidance, children at such ages must be immunized with the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the ministry, which has yet to specify the brands.
In a dispatch on Monday, the ministry said local authorities should organize immunization for children aged 12 to 17 in accordance with the previous guidance of the Ministry of Health based on their vaccine supply sources and local COVID-19 developments.
Therefore, the department has asked the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute to authorize usage of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for this vaccination plan and to provide related instructions, Hung said, adding the institute will give a reply within Tuesday.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently available in the city, and it can be used for children at such ages according to the manufacturer's instructions, Hung further explained.
On Tuesday morning, the department organized an online training session for about 3,900 health workers to provide them with such knowledge and skills as organizing child vaccination, pre-inoculation screening, handling post-injection side effects, and responding to emergency circumstances.
According to the plan, the vaccination will be provided for children at 16-17 years old first and then for those at lower ages at schools and fixed or mobile inoculation points.
About 780,000 children in the age group will be inoculated against COVID-19 across the city.
Before immunization, children will undergo screening and their parents or custodians will be given necessary consultancy before signing vaccination consent forms.
The minors will be monitored for at least 30 minutes before obtaining vaccination certificates.
After a required interval from the first shot, they will receive their second jab of the same vaccine.
Pham Thi Thanh Hien, chairperson of the administration of Cu Chi District, said 11,000 children aged 16 to 17 will be vaccinated at six points in the district on Wednesday.
On Monday, 92.13 percent of parents involved in a survey conducted at many local high schools said they agreed to administering vaccines to their children, the municipal Department of Education and Training reported.
The city of nine million people had administered more than 7.14 million first vaccine doses and around 5.6 million second jabs to adult citizens as of Monday, according to official figures.
The corresponding figures for the country are over 52.58 million and some 21.46 million.
Since the pandemic hit Vietnam in early 2020, the city has documented 423,193 COVID-19 cases and 16,516 deaths, the health ministry said on Monday.
Nationwide, 892,579 cases have been documented, including 807,301 recoveries and 21,738 deaths.
Recently, Vietnam’s daily new infections and deaths have sharply fallen, to 3,639 and 65 on Monday from 9,706 and 180 a month earlier.
Ho Chi Minh City saw its daily new cases and fatalities drop to 969 and 40 on Monday compared to 4,046 and 123 a month back, according to the ministry’s data.