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Accelerating vaccination against COVID-19

by NDO10 May 2021 Last updated at 17:52 PM

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot at Hanoi's Bach Mai Hospital on May 6, 2021. (Photo: TRAN MINH)
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot at Hanoi's Bach Mai Hospital on May 6, 2021. (Photo: TRAN MINH)

VTV.vn - One of the most effective preventive measures against COVID-19, as recommended by specialist bodies, is the implementation of the 5K regulations and vaccination.

The Prime Minister has also issued a directive on speeding up inoculation against COVID-19 virus.

On the morning of May 6, Minister of Health (MoH) Nguyen Thanh Long and Deputy Ministers: Do Xuan Tuyen, Truong Quoc Cuong, and Tran Van Thuan, along with many heads of MoH’s units and a large number of reporters, got a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital. Initial evaluation showed that after the injection, the health of all those vaccinated was completely normal.

One of the factors that has slowed the progress of COVID-19 vaccination is anxiety regarding negative post-injection reactions. However, according to Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long, the vaccination process in Vietnam is being implemented with a high level of safety ,higher even than in some advanced countries.

Accordingly, COVID-19 vaccination centres must ensure the standards of their facilities, equipment and manpower aligned with pre-vaccination health examinations and consultation under the guidance of the Ministry of Health.

The person being vaccinated must stay at the vaccination site for at least 30 minutes and follow up at home for at least 24 hours as well as monitor themselves for up to three weeks post-vaccination.

Hospitals and health facilities organising injection must be ready to handle severe reactions after injection in order to ensure the highest level of safety for those injected. The criteria for postponement of vaccination and contraindications to vaccination in Vietnam are also broader than in other countries.

The head of the health sector affirmed that ensuring vaccination safety must be the first priority. Therefore, the Ministry of Health has established a Steering Committee for immunization safety, which has gathersed leading experts and professors from relevant fields, especially in terms of treatment, in order to be ready to assist localities in handling any unforeseen situations during their vaccination programme.

The Steering Committee has provided training and guidance on how to handle adverse incidents after COVID-19 vaccination to medical examination and treatment facilities across the country.

According to statistics from the National Expanded Immunization Programme, Vietnam has injected 801,957 medical workers directly treating COVID-19 patients and other forces taking samples, testing, and tracing the disease in addition to members of the Steering Committees for pandemic prevention and control at all levels, the police and military forces.

Like other vaccines, the inoculation of COVID-19 vaccines may see post-injection reactions of different levels. Common reactions (up to 50%) include low-grade fever (≥ 38C), headache, nausea, muscle pain, joint pain, tenderness, swelling and pain at the injection site, itching, fatigue, restlessness, fever, and chills.

A common reaction (from 1% to less than 10%) is swelling and redness at the injection site. There may be rare reactions (from one millionth of 1% to 1%) such as an anaphylactic reaction.

The vaccination against COVID-19 in Vietnam is being implemented safely, with about 16% of injected people reporting common post-injection reactions such as local pain and low fever usually having resolved themselves after 24 hours. This rate is lower than that of other countries in the world.

The Ministry of Health said all vaccines from foreign sources in Vietnam will be fully disbursed by May 15. The Government discussed very carefully the project on importing, producing and organising vaccination and assigned the Ministry of Health to complete these in May 2021.

However, vaccination is only one of the preventive measures against COVID-19 and the preventive rate of vaccine will not reach 100% of all vaccinated people. Dr. Pham Quang Thai, head of the Northern Expanded Immunization Office (National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology) said clinical trials across the world as well as the actual vaccination of more than 250 million people in recent times have shown that after the first injection, the protection against COVID-19 viruses reached 50 to 70% and its effectiveness remains the same within three months after the first dose.

In terms of the second dose, with various intervals between injections, the optimal timing was three months after the first dose, and with this injection interval, the protective effect was over 80%.

At shorter intervals of less than three months, the effect was lower and was at its lowest at the standard dose (two shots separated by one month). This is why the National Expanded Immunization Programme still recommends keeping the two shot three months or more apart for optimal protection. The real benefit of the COVID-19 vaccination is to protect the vaccinated from falling ill and being hospitalised.

Since the protection rate cannot reach 100%, those injected can still be infected and source of transmission to others. Therefore, after injection, either one and two shots, the injected people must still strictly implement all measures to prevent infection which are summarized by the 5K measures at present.

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