Vietnam on Monday received 1,188,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility, bringing the total donations to the country from the World Health Organization-led facility to 8,681,300 doses.
WHO representative for Vietnam, Dr. Kidong Park, said the vaccines are life-saving tools as Vietnam suffers from its worst outbreak yet, and should be given to the most vulnerable groups.
“As we face the surge of cases, we need to accelerate and ramp up efforts in vaccinating health workers, the elderly and those with underlying conditions to protect them from severe illness and death.”
Among the more than 8,000,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine that have reached Vietnam so far, 5,000,000 are Moderna vaccines donated by the US government. More than 3.5 million doses are AstraZeneca.
“It is critical that priority groups, including health and social workers and teachers, are vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to ensure that children are able to return safely to school and get the preventive health services they need”, said Lesley Miller, UNICEF Deputy Representative.
As of latest, over 6.4 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country, mostly to frontline workers. Only a little more than 600,000 have had their second doses.
Nearly 700,000 vaccines also arrived in Ho Chi Minh City last Thursday.
The new vaccines will help hard-hit localities, especially in the southern region, to expand their vaccination campaigns. The country targets to inoculate more than 70% of its 98 million people by the end of the first quarter of 2022 to attain herd immunity and be able to restart its economy.
97 days into Vietnam’s worst outbreak
Three months, or 97 days to be exact, into its fourth and worst outbreak, Vietnam’s rising COVID-19 infections remain a big challenge, especially to Ho Chi Minh City, which now accounts for about 63% of the national tally.
On Monday, the Ministry of Health confirmed 7,445 new infections, raising the tally in the new wave alone to 157,868. HCMC has recorded 98,559 cases. Since the start of the new wave on April 27, Vietnam has recorded 1,660 deaths.
An extended social distancing restrictions also took effect today in HCMC and 18 other localities, under Prime Minister Pham Minh Chin’s mandate.
Besides HCMC, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and 13 Mekong Delta localities Can Tho, Tien Giang, Long An, Vinh Long, Dong Thap, Ben Tre, Hau Giang, An Giang, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Ca Mau and Kien Giang are also still under Directive 16.
The capital city of Hanoi is also undergoing two-week social distancing measures starting July 24. The city of nine million people are only allowed to go out only for activities deemed essential by the authorities. The city also suspended operations of wholesale markets, restaurants, karaoke bars and several other businesses.
The central cities of Danang and Hoi An imposed 14-day citywide restrictions over the weekend. These tourist-favorite cities, which were severely affected during the third wave in the first quarter of 2021, recently reported surging cases.
The province of Binh Dinh and Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan also began enforcing Directive 16 on Monday.