Vietnam’s Health Ministry recently released a document instructing the People’s Committees of provinces and cities to determine the number of children from six months old to under five. The goal is to put together a plan for COVID-19 vaccinations for children under five "when there are enough conditions and scientific basis."
Nguyễn Thị Liên Hương, Deputy Minister of Health, emphasized that local authorities should take this as an important and urgent mission. They also request the province and city officials to give it proper attention and cooperate with the ministry.
As stated by the Health Ministry, localities should propose the need for vaccines for each age group of children from (1) six months old to under one-year-old, (2) from one to under two, (3) from two to under three, (4) from three to under four, and (5) from four to under five and send them to the Institutes of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the Pasteur Institute before September 30.
The plan for the five age groups should be sent to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology before October 10 and then to the Health Ministry by October 15.
So far, Vietnam has administered close to 260 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 for those aged five and above. Fully vaccinated individuals in the country have reached 83.8 million.
For ages 12 and above, nearly 100% of the population already received the primary vaccination course (two doses). As for children aged five to under 12, 88% received their first dose, and 60% with the second dose.
From the global perspective, the World Health Organization stated in their document Interim statement on COVID-19 vaccination for children that was first published in November 2021 and was updated in August 2022; they are currently reviewing the emerging evidence on the need for and timing of vaccination for children and adolescents with the currently available COVID-19 vaccines, which have received Emergency Use Listing (EUL).
WHO is working with the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and its COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group. “This interim statement was developed with additional support from the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Experts (STAGE) on maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health, and nutrition.”
WHO stressed that the interim statement is not a policy recommendation. “Countries should consider the individual and population benefits of immunizing children and adolescents in their specific epidemiological and social context when developing their COVID-19 immunization policies and programs,” the document reads.