Vietnam will take steps to 'normalize' the COVID-19 pandemic and treat it as an endemic disease, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said on Thursday.
The PM made the directive at a cabinet meeting, where he asked the Ministry of Health to continue applying effective measures to put the pandemic under control, the Vietnam Government Portal (VGP) reported.
The ministry must accurately assess the epidemic situation and evaluate the degree of protection that antibodies provide against the coronavirus among fully vaccinated people a national scale.
The agency should refer to international experience for appropriate and effective measures to move toward 'normalizing COVID-19' and considering it an endemic disease, the PM directed.
In a report delivered to the meeting, the ministry noted that the numbers of severe cases and fatalities have been dropping, with the rate of deaths over infections down from 2.45 percent to 1.54 percent presently.
A recent survey found 96 percent of Vietnamese satisfied with the government’s measures for coronavirus prevention and control, the ministry said.
The agency, however, cited cautions from the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as other countries, saying COVID-19 would not be kept at bay completely before 2023, as the Omicron variant and other similar strains may potentially cause unpredictable developments.
Vietnam has so far received 218 million doses of vaccine and administrated nearly 202 million shots to people, according to VGP.
The first, second, and third vaccine dose coverage for the country’s adult population has reached 100 percent, 97.9 percent, and 34.5 percent, respectively.
Children aged 12 to 17 years old have received their first and second shots at the corresponding rates of 98.7 percent and 93.3 percent.
The central government has recently issued a resolution on the purchase of 21.9 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine intended for children from five to under 12 years old.
The health ministry said it is preparing to vaccinate children in this age range.
Vietnam has documented 3,885,631 infections, with 2,550,525 recoveries and 40,547 fatalities, since the pandemic erupted in the country in early 2020, according to the ministry.