Ho Chi Minh City will provide vaccine booster shots for residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19, firstly for priority groups from November, while Hanoi plans to offer such boosters next year.
The southern city’s Department of Health has proposed that the municipal administration give third COVID-19 vaccine shots first to high-risk people and frontline workers who have received two full doses, Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, deputy director of the department, said at a meeting on Saturday.
Such priority groups will get the extra jabs in the remaining months of this year, Dr. Chau said.
In the same period, all unvaccinated residents will be given the first shot and those being partially inoculated will be provided with the second one, the official added.
Next year, the city will administer third or fourth vaccine shots to all who have received second or third doses, and at the same time vaccinate children aged three and older, the official said.
Currently, the city is running a large-scale vaccination campaign for around 780,000 children aged 12 to 17, the meeting was told.
As of October 28, the city of around nine people had had more than 7.1 million people injected with the first vaccine dose and more than 5.6 million with the second jab, Dr. Chau said.
“Vaccination is a long-term and strategic solution in the COVID-19 fight, with priority given to high-risk groups including pregnant women, people aged over 50, people with underlying diseases or obesity, and frontline forces,” Dr. Chau emphasized.
Meanwhile, Hanoi is preparing to inoculate 680,000-840,000 children aged 12 to 17, Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper cited Khong Minh Tuan, deputy director of the Hanoi Center for Disease Control, as saying on Thursday.
The immunization will kick off as soon as the capital city receives vaccines from the Ministry of Health, Tuan said.
In November-December, Hanoi will continue giving first and second vaccine doses to its adult population, with priority intended for over-50-year-old people, women at over 13 weeks of pregnancy, and those with chronic diseases, among others, Tuan said.
The city is drawing up a COVID-19 vaccination plan for 2022, in which children aged three and older will be vaccinated while third or fourth vaccine doses will be offered to people who have received second or third jabs, the center said.
By Saturday, Hanoi had administered around 6.07 million first shots and 3.73 second jabs to a population of over eight million people, whereas Ho Chi Minh City had registered the corresponding numbers of 7.45 million and 5.7 million, according to official figures.
Health workers have administered nearly 79 million vaccine doses, including 1,712,435 shots on Thursday, since vaccination was rolled out on March 8.
More than 23.3 million people have been fully inoculated.
Health authorities target to inoculate at least two-thirds of a population of nearly 98 million people against COVID-19 by the first quarter of next year.
Since erupting in Vietnam in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused 4,846 cases including 38 deaths in the capital, along with 428,204 infections and 16,662 fatalities in Ho Chi Minh City, according to the health ministry’s data.
The Southeast Asian country has recorded 915,603 cumulative cases, including 818,336 recoveries and 22,030 fatalities.
Its daily new infections and deaths have sharply fallen, to 5,227 and 64 on Saturday from 7,940 and 159 a month earlier.
Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s COVID-19 epicenter, saw its cases and death toll drop to 1,042 and 30 from 4,372 and 106 a month back.