Recommendations for the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam

Recommendations for the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam
Dương Châu Thanh

Decision 2227/QD-BYT on the Plan on using vaccines against COVID-19 in 2023, issued by the Minister of Health on May 19, 2023, including a recommendation to use the covid-19 vaccine in Vietnam.

Recommendations for the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam

(1) World Health Organization's recommendation to use COVID-19 vaccine

- According to WHO recommendations on January 21, 2022:

+ Countries with low basic nasal coverage rates for COVID-19 vaccines should first focus on increasing basic nasal coverage rates for high-priority groups; Countries that have achieved moderate to high basic nasal coverage (including Vietnam) need to focus on increasing the rate of repeat nasal coverage for high priority groups before implementing vaccination for low-priority groups.

Children should continue to be fully vaccinated with the recommended routine immunizations.

+ When the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop complicatedly, it is possible to give additional booster shots (after the second booster) for high-risk groups (elderly; people with moderate to severe immunodeficiency; adults with underlying medical conditions at risk for severe COVID-19; pregnant women and healthcare workers).

These booster doses are recommended 4 to 6 months after the completion of the previous injection.

- WHO roadmap for the Western Pacific region on vaccination against COVID-19 in the period 2022–2023, updated on January 21, 2022:

+ Objective 1: Sustainably reduce COVID-19 morbidity and mortality while ensuring all high-priority populations are vaccinated according to the recommended schedule (including boosters) and maintain the highest possible immunization rates for medium-priority groups and continue expanding to low-priority groups according to the recommended vaccination schedule (including booster doses).

+ Objective 2: Integrate vaccination against COVID-19 into the routine immunization program.

- According to WHO recommendations updated on March 30, 2023:

High priority is given to the elderly, adults with severe underlying diseases such as diabetes/cardiovascular disease, and people with immune diseases, including children aged 6 months and older. pregnant women and frontline health workers;

Medium priority subjects are healthy adults under 50 or 60 years of age with no underlying medical conditions and children and adolescents with underlying medical conditions; low-priority target groups are children and adolescents from 6 months to 17 years old.

- The roadmap of SAGE and WHO5 Western Pacific Region on the use of COVID-19 vaccine in the context of Omicron and significant immunity in the population was updated to 30/3/2023 as follows:

+ High priority group: get one more booster shot 6-12 months after the previous one (regardless of how many previous injections have been given). For pregnant women, vaccination helps protect the fetus and children under 6 months of age.

+ Medium priority group: need to get enough basic injections and booster shots. Currently, SAGE does not recommend continued booster injections for this group.

+ Low priority group: the primary and booster shots are safe and effective for children aged 6 months to 17 years.

Countries should carefully consider epidemiological factors, cost-effectiveness and other priorities before deciding to vaccinate against COVID-19 for children aged 6 months to 17 years.

- Immunization form: Consider changing the implementation form from campaign vaccination to integrating into routine vaccination.

- Immunizations for children: in the current context and with the low rate of vaccinations in routine immunization, the effectiveness of vaccination against COVID-19 for groups from 6 months to 17 years of age is much lower than focusing on increasing regular vaccination.

- Countries can use a bivalent vaccine (BA.5 bivalent mRNA) for primary as well as booster shots.

- There are no recommendations for an annual COVID-19 booster vaccination, even for high-priority groups.

(2) Recommendations for the Use of the COVID-19 Vaccine of the Advisory Council on the Use of Vaccines of the Ministry of Health of Vietnam

Based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations as well as the experience of implementing vaccination against COVID-19 in countries, on November 11, 2022, the Advisory Council on Vaccine Use of the Ministry of Health met and made the following recommendations:

At the present time, the vaccination against COVID-19 for children under 5 years of age has not yet been implemented, but it is necessary to focus resources on activities to increase the vaccination rate against COVID-19 for target groups with instructions such as nose 3 for people from 12 years old and above and basic nose for children from 5 to under 12 years old; the 3rd booster dose (5th dose) of COVID-19 vaccine and an annual booster are not recommended.

On April 17, 2023, the Advisory Council on Vaccine Use of the Ministry of Health of Vietnam met and made the following recommendations: the use of vaccines as recommended by WHO on March 30, 2023, is necessary; it is necessary to continue to monitor and synthesize information on the situation of vaccination in the world and the implementation of vaccination in Vietnam to have a basis for considering and making recommendations on the use of vaccines in the near future in Vietnam.

Decision 2227/QD-BYT was issued on May 19, 2023.


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