Vietnam is ramping up its vaccination program in an effort to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions in major cities by the end of the month, the government said on Monday.
Health workers administered vaccines overnight in the capital Hanoi, which has been under lockdown since July.
The health ministry said more than a million vaccine shots were given over the weekend in Hanoi, out of about 5.5 million administered there since vaccination began in March.
“We have to speed up the vaccination program so that we can plan to reopen the city,” Hanoi Mayor Chu Ngok Anh said on Sunday. More than half of the country’s 98 crore population is also under lockdown.
About 80% of the city’s 5.7 million adults have received at least one shot, with officials aiming for 100% by the end of this week.
However, the country’s overall vaccination rate is low at about 28%, and only 4% have been fully vaccinated with both jabs.
Vietnam managed to keep its infection rate relatively low with only 35 deaths as of April this year. It was praised last year for keeping the virus under control, a feat generally attributed to the discipline of being a single-party communist state with tight controls at all levels.
But a lack of a vaccine has forced Vietnam to slow down its vaccination program in recent months, even as the delta version of the virus infected more than 600,000 people and more than 15,000 in just four months. killed.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s business hub and hardest hit by the boom, more than 95% of adults have received the first vaccine, but many who need to come in for a second dose are not able to receive it. supply.
Amid measures to combat shortages, Vietnam’s health authority has allowed a combination of different two-dose COVID-19 vaccines to speed up the vaccination campaign. Experts say this strategy is probably safe and effective, but researchers are still collecting data to be sure.
Vietnam is currently using AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and SinoPharma, a Chinese-made vaccine.