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VN pushes back on vaccine passports

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A doctor in Khanh Hoa Province holds up a vial containing AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. VNA/VNS

VN pushes back on vaccine passports

Vietnamese General Department of Preventive Medicine head Dang Quang Tan has laid out three reasons for the country not to accept “vaccine passports” at this time.

First, Covid-19 vaccines, he said, only reduce the seriousness of diseases when people are infected, and travel recommendations for vaccinated people have not been fully researched.

Secondly, different countries are administering different Covid-19 vaccines, such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Sputnik V and Sinovac, with varying protection efficacy, so which country would allow the entries of people injected with which types of vaccines remains a question.

The third and final reason Tan cited is that the application of vaccine passports should depend on the level of community immunity.

As Vietnam is largely free of the virus, and the rate of vaccine coverage in the country remains quite low due to shortages, the level of immunity against Covid-19 among the population is very low, so if the management of foreign entries is lax, the risks of virus spread in the community would be “uncontrollable”.

An April 25 report from the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation said that by 4pm the day before, nearly 199,000 people in Vietnam, mostly frontline workers and medical staff, have been inoculated against
Covid-19, using AstraZeneca vaccines.

The pandemic continues to spread quickly around the world, with 600,000-700,000 new cases and 1,000-2,000 deaths each day on average.

Vietnam has now gone about a month without any community transmissions, but the pandemic is showing complicated developments throughout Southeast Asia.

Several regional and neighbouring countries are experiencing new outbreaks due to large gatherings of people.

The health ministry has proposed that those who receive recommended vaccinations could have their quarantine time reduced, which is waiting for approval from top ministry officials and the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

Also according to Tan, Vietnam is considering the pilot application of vaccine passports in tourist areas and several golf courses.

A vaccine passport is a certificate proving that one has been vaccinated against Covid-19 as recommended by the manufacturers or State management agencies. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has yet to recommend the scheme. Only Singapore is piloting the measure, on a limited scale.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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