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HCM CITY – The HCM City Department of Health has directed the People's Committees of districts and Thủ Đức City to submit lists of the number of people aged 18 and over who have not received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The lists will help the health department reserve and distribute the appropriate number of vaccine doses to specific areas. The department has asked local authorities to submit the information before Saturday (September 18).
According to the HCM City Centre for Disease Control, as of September 15, the city had given 8,452,609 vaccine shots, including 6.6 million first shots and 1.7 million second shots. As many as 969,451 people aged 65 and over and people with underlying diseases have been vaccinated.
The rate of first-shot coverage in the city has reached 92.5 per cent. Only districts 11 and 12 have given at least one vaccine dose to 100 per cent of its residents aged 18 and over.
The city has been giving around 200,000 doses daily in the last few days.
Health experts said that vaccine coverage is one of the most important conditions for the city to return to normal life and re-open economic and social activities in the future.
Deputy Director of the city Health Department Nguyễn Hoài Nam said the city was seeking approval from the Health Ministry to reduce the time between two AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots from the usual eight to 12 weeks down to six weeks to speed up immunisation.
According to Nam, the rate of infections found by testing has dropped, from 3.6 percent during the first testing round in high-risk areas to 2.7 percent in the second round and 1.1 percent in the third round.
To discover all infections in the community, mass testing will continue at a faster rate.
HCM City's steering board for COVID-19 prevention and control has asked the city's health authority and districts to continue to take COVID-19 test samples from locals until the end of September, when the city will consider relaxing strict social distancing measures.
City districts and Thủ Đức City have been asked to focus on widespread testing to quickly isolate and treat positive cases.
In the city's red (very high risk) and orange (high risk) zones, all family households will be pool-tested three times within seven days, either by antigen rapid testing or RT-PCR testing.
The former method will require up to three members per household per test pool, while the latter will pool samples from all household members per test.
For green and yellow zones (low risk and at-risk), representatives of households will be tested by RT-PCR, with 10 samples pooled for green zones and five for yellow zones.
Households with five or more members must provide two members for testing. They will also have to offer different members for different testing rounds, and should prioritise members who have yet to be vaccinated or who have had frequent contact with many other people.
Positive test pools will lead to all household members in the pools being tested individually once every five to seven days.
Based on the test results, HCM City will reclassify its colour-coded zones to reflect new pandemic risk levels for future testing rounds.
Locals are encouraged to take samples themselves with the help of local authorities. The city's Department of Health will instruct relevant units to ensure there are sufficient testing kits and other necessary equipment.
HCM City, Việt Nam's COVID-19 epicentre, has recorded over 315,000 positive cases since late April.
Since August 23, the city has gone through at least two rounds of widespread COVID-19 tests in the community. Some areas are carrying out their third or fourth testing round. The number of positive cases found from testing has been gradually decreasing, according to the city's Department of Health. – VNS
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