HÀ NỘI — WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai said on Tuesday he was impressed with Việt Nam’s COVID-19 inoculation campaign and the high vaccination rate.
The WHO official also spoke highly of the Vietnamese Government’s ‘door to door’ campaign to get everyone vaccinated during his meeting with Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính in Hà Nội, remarking that this is a most effective way to elevate the vaccine coverage to an even higher degree, in order to both protect public health and ensure safe conditions for the maintenance of economic growth.
PM Chính said Việt Nam attaches great importance to cooperation with WHO, and conveyed his gratitude to the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, WHO Office in Việt Nam and Takeshi Kasai personally for their important support for the development of the health sector in Việt Nam and calling on countries and international partners to support Việt Nam with vaccines and medical supplies during the pandemic.
The support not only helped Việt Nam through the most challenging times in the fourth wave of outbreaks, but also demonstrated the international community’s confidence in Việt Nam.
Việt Nam places the people’s health first and foremost in its response to COVID-19 and the largest vaccination drive in the country has been executed safely and effectively, all free of charge.
While Việt Nam was initially lagging behind in its vaccination efforts now it has become one of the six most highly vaccinated in the world – first-dose and two-dose coverages in the adult population reached 99.98 and 93.6 per cent, 11.5 per cent have received additional/booster shot; while first-dose and two-dose coverages in children aged 12-17 years are currently at 89.8 and 68 per cent.
PM Chính said Việt Nam is striving to administer third doses to all people aged 18 and above within the first quarter of 2022, and complete two-dose injections for people aged 12-17 in January, as well as observe international practices and WHO recommendations to start vaccination of children aged 5-11 to get children back to schools soon.
The fact that many children in many localities in the country are still having to learn online and could not go to schools yet is a major concern, PM Chính said.
During the pandemic, when there were not enough vaccines, stringent restrictions have to be in place to curb the virus spread, the Government leader said.
Việt Nam will continue to follow its strategy of safe and flexible adaptation to COVID-19 in 2022, he noted, adding that vaccines, medicines and public awareness are the keys to the reopening of the economy.
He said the Government will have to consolidate the local health capacity, especially in major cities, highly populated areas and industrial zones.
The PM also asked WHO and Takeshi Kasai personally to help Việt Nam with vaccines and medicines, especially the domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines to guarantee self-reliance in supplies.
Takeshi Kasai thanked Việt Nam for having contributed donations to the WHO-led global vaccine sharing initiative COVAX.
Noting that the variant of concern Omicron is highly contagious and is driving the surge of cases across the globe, the WHO official agrees with the COVID-19 response plan Việt Nam’s Government is developing, with the emphasis on vaccines, protection of vulnerable groups of people – including the elderly and frontline workers, as well as the public compliance with COVID-19 measures.
He also welcomed Việt Nam’s changing of approach to Omicron, including the home-based care of asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 cases to prevent overwhelming the health system.
During the meeting, Kidong Park, WHO Representative to Việt Nam, also welcomed the door to door approach in increasing the vaccination rate, and Việt Nam’s policy to strengthen grassroots-level healthcare and preventive medicine – which will be useful not only against COVID-19, but also in dealing with future implications of an ageing population.
WHO representatives also expressed appreciation for the economic growth of Việt Nam during the pandemic, and their belief that Việt Nam will continue to live safely with the pandemic, and become a regional and global-level exemplary model in healthcare and conveyed their commitment to help the country in the process. — VnExpress News
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