HCMC – The Ministry of Health is formulating a plan to vaccinate children aged from 12 to 17 against Covid-19, which is expected to begin this month, said Deputy Minister Tran Van Thuan.
The country has some 25 million children. In the fourth Covid-19 wave, many children have been infected with the the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant or have come into close contact with positive cases, the local media reported.
Therefore, children should be vaccinated so that they can return to in-person classes and participate in social activities. The Ministry of Health will expand the immunization coverage to younger children later.
Associate Professor Dr Tran Dac Phu, senior advisor at the Center for Emergency Response to Public Health Events of Vietnam, said Vietnam needs to vaccinate children.
The prime minister, too, has also supported the early vaccination of children, Phu added.
In addition, a large volume of Pfizer vaccines will arrive in Vietnam soon. Vietnam is also waiting for Cuba to send documents on vaccines for children, following State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s suggestion during his Cuba visit last month.
Deputy Minister Thuan said 120 million Covid-19 vaccines were expected to be shipped to Vietnam in the remaining months of this year and the country would administer the first dose to over 70% of residents aged 18 and above.
The issue was also raised at a teleconference of the HCMC delegation of National Assembly deputies on October 9. Associate Professor Dr Nguyen Thanh Hung, director of the HCMC Children’s Hospital 1, said some 20,000 children nationwide had had Covid. Although Covid-19 may be milder in children than in adults, it is still dangerous for obese children and those with underlying health conditions.
HCMC planned to reopen schools in January next year, so parents have been extremely nervous.
Doctor Hung cited the situation in the United States that some 500,000 children got the virus in the last two weeks of September, when schools were reopened. To date, the number has increased to 5.9 million, accounting for 17% of the United States’ Covid-19 caseload.
Although the death rate for children is lower than that for adults, the disease’s impact on children’s physical and mental health has yet to be affirmed.
The United States has vaccinated children aged from 12 to 17, while Cuba has administered its vaccine to children aged two and older.