HCM City has seen a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infected children. The city plans to vaccinate 970,000 children aged 5-11 against COVID-19. — VNA/VNS Photo Đan Phương
HCM CITY — Early detection of infections, vaccination and preparation of hospital beds for treatment are two main measures in HCM City’s response to the rising number of children infected with COVID-19.
The HCM City Department of Health has sent to relevant units an urgent document on guidance and care for COVID-19 infected children.
According to the city’s Centre for Disease Control, between February 14 and 22, the number of infected children was three times that of the previous week (February 7-13).
Nguyễn Thị Huỳnh Mai, chief of Office of the Department of Health, said the main cause for the increase in infections was that children were attending classes in person, which presented a higher risk of coming into contact with infected people.
Increased social exchanges could also be a contributory factor, with many people having spent their Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays travelling, increasing the risk of community transmissions, she said.
Most of the positive cases detected in children were infections with the Omicron strain, identified as a worrying variant by the World Health Organization (WHO) because of rapid transmission.
The department has asked all public and non-public medical clinics, hospitals and treatment facilities in the city to ensure early detection of infections among children as well as prompt treatment for those with abnormal signs.
Hospitals have been told to quickly prepare beds and equipment for receiving and treating COVID-19 infected children, and to train staff as needed.
The department has also called for establishment of COVID-19 treatment departments at children’s hospitals and childcare units for them in the quarantine areas of other medical clinics and hospitals.
Children aged less than 12 who have not been vaccinated must be considered a high-risk group, especially those with underlying medical conditions like obesity and others, it has said.
In case a rapid antigen test result is positive, the children must be transferred immediately to one of three children’s hospitals in the city.
Each children’s hospital has been asked to set up a 150-bed COVID-19 treatment department, including 50 beds for intensive care.
They have also been asked to prepare for the possibility of expanding the scale of the COVID-19 treatment department.
To better protect children, especially children under 12, the city has developed a plan on vaccination for children aged 5-11.
The city’s Department of Education and Training has asked all kindergarten, primary and secondary schools to make a list of students aged 5-11 years to prepare for vaccinations.
The plan is to vaccinate all children born on and before April 1, 2017.
Schools have been asked to send staff to attend training courses on COVID-19 immunisation, the use and management of vaccination data and ensuring safety during vaccination.
About 970,000 children aged 5-11 in the city are expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19. — VNS