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Saigon Begins Vaccinating Students to Prepare for School Reopening

The city aims to administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to approximately 780,000 children aged 12 to 17.

On Wednesday morning, 1,500 16- and 17-year-old students received their first dose of the vaccine at Cu Chi Town Elementary School, and 1,600 students received vaccines at three sites in District 1 in the afternoon. 

The rollout follows guidelines released by the Ministry of Health regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for children on October 14. Considering the severity of its outbreak, Saigon was selected as the first municipality to begin the vaccinations, and local authorities selected Cu Chi and District 1 to begin, followed by other districts and Thu Duc City beginning today. 

“Only units that meet all safety conditions required by the health sector are allowed to organize the vaccination, otherwise the process will be postponed,” explained Nguyễn Hữu Hưng, the head of the city's Department of Health. 

Almost 4,000 health workers from hospitals and local medical centers received online training earlier in the week to prepare for the vaccinations. Parents, teachers and local authorities have been on-site to observe the inoculations. 

In addition to the need to study the safety of vaccines for children, priority for the vaccines has been given to adults. After months of aggressive vaccination efforts, as of Tuesday, 12.7 million vaccines doses have been administered in Saigon, with 5.6 million people fully inoculated.

Authorities have made no declaration regarding how the vaccinations will impact the re-opening of Saigon schools, which have been closed for in-person classes since May. The continued system of remote learning, coupled with most of Saigon's businesses, offices and services re-opening on October 1, has caused some challenges for childcare across the city. 

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