Mass COVID-19 testing done at an apartment building complex in Hà Nội in 2021. — VNA/VNS Photo Thành Đạt
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Thursday asked the health sector to concentrate on COVID-19 prevention and control, prepare for any possibilities and speed up COVID-19 vaccination, particularly for children and booster shots.
Speaking at the meeting to introduce tasks of the health sector this year, Chính said that the international and domestic situation this year was forecast to have advantages and opportunities, as well as difficulties and challenges because of the appearance of the new variant Omicron and possibly other ones which could make the pandemic more complicated and unpredictable.
He asked the health sector to follow the Resolutions of the Party Central Committee, the National Assembly and Resolution 01/NQ-CP of the Government to institutionalise and concretise specific measures, policies and action plans and implement them effectively.
The sector must also be based on the actual situations to direct and take COVID-19 prevention and control measures in a flexible, creative and drastic manner for the health and safety of the people, Chính said.
Once responding to the pandemic, Việt Nam should increase capacity in ensuring drugs, vaccines and essential medical materials, Chính said, asking for research, development and technology transfer for domestic production of vaccines, therapeutic drugs, medical equipment and biological products.
The health authority was asked to quickly assess and approve domestically-produced vaccines and drugs on the principles of sciences, safety and effectiveness.
Treatment capacity must keep improving to reduce the number of patients with severe illnesses and deaths. In areas where the pandemic could develop, mobile health stations must be put in place.
The head of the Government also pointed out that the health sector should focus on perfecting institutions, mechanisms and policies to overcome inadequacies and limitations in COVID prevention and control, such as granting circulation permits for drugs and vaccines, building mobile medical facilities, field hospitals or mechanisms for medical procurement.
Chính emphasised the need to improve the country’s health care system, especially preventive medicine and grassroots health care.
Commune-level health care must be renovated, particularly the capacity to respond to major medical crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chính also attached importance to the improved medical human resources, asking the health sector to gradually ensure sufficient quantity and improve the quality of medical staff at all levels.
The PM also asked for completing regulations on finance and service delivery at public health facilities, innovating service payment methods.
State management in the field of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment must be tightened.
Social resources and investment are called on joining protecting, caring and improving people’s health.
The health sector and the Ministry of Health need to improve the efficiency of state management of food safety, promote reasonable nutrition, improve the quality of the population, combat population ageing, and give attention to the development of pharmaceutical industry and traditional medicine.
PM Chính applauded the health sector’s contributions to the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and socio-economic recovery last year.
“The health sector worked hardest and made the most outstanding achievements to help the country shift to safe and flexible adaptation and effective COVID-19 control,” Chính said.
The PM said that when the COVID-19 outbreaks widely spread in major crowded urban areas and industrial zones, without COVID-19 vaccine and special medicines, Việt Nam applied strict administrative measures to curb infections.
The health sector has brought medical services to the grassroots for people to have timely and effective access, particularly the establishment of more than 700 mobile commune health stations.
More than 300,000 medical workers, students, soldiers and police arrived at localities during social distancing to offer support to the local health system and people.
The health sector also greatly contributed to the development of vaccine strategy, promoted vaccine diplomacy, established the vaccine fund and launched the largest ever vaccination campaign in Việt Nam, Chính said.
From a country with a very low vaccination rate, Việt Nam has become one of the six countries with the highest vaccination coverage rate in the world. Up to now, almost all adults aged 18 and over in Việt Nam received first doses, while 95 per cent of adults received second doses.
About 92 per cent of people aged from 12 to 17 years old received first doses, and 76 per cent received second doses.
According to the Ministry of health, so far, Việt Nam has received 209.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from purchase, aid, and sponsorship sources; achieving the goal of the Government’s Resolution 21/NQ-CP on the purchase and use of vaccines in 2021.
Of the vaccines, 187.6 million doses have been allocated. The vaccines have been distributed to hot-spot COVID-19 areas, those with a high risk of outbreaks and industrial parks.
The country has administered over 168 million doses.
Việt Nam planned to complete the third injections by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
Moreover, it is preparing COVID-19 vaccinations for children from 5 years old and will implement it according to scientific recommendations to ensure safety and effectiveness. — VNS