Vietnam issues new Covid-19 vaccine guidance

Facing an unpredictable global Covid-19 situation with new sub-variants continuing to emerge, Vietnam's Ministry of Health has issued updated guidance on Covid-19 vaccinations to bolster immunity, especially for high-risk groups.


The World Health Organization in Vietnam recommended in November 2023 updating priority groups for Covid-19 vaccination given the evolving pandemic landscape.

Heeding this advice and consulting its immunisation advisory groups, the ministry specified the following vaccination guidelines:

Priority groups for Covid-19 vaccination include healthcare workers, individuals aged 50 and above, individuals with underlying medical conditions, unvaccinated individuals aged 18 and above, and pregnant women.

On vaccination schedule, unvaccinated individuals should receive one dose immediately while those previously vaccinated should get a booster at least six months apart. For pregnant women, one dose per pregnancy at any stage is recommendable, preferably in the middle trimester.

The ministry has urged local health authorities to review vaccination rates in their areas, identify remaining unvaccinated priority groups based on the new guidance, and request vaccine supplies from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology accordingly to facilitate a timely rollout.

Vietnam has administered over 266.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to date, with nearly 100 percent of individuals aged 12 and above fully vaccinated. More importantly, 89.6 percent of high-risk individuals aged 18 and above have received a 4th dose, among the highest global coverage rates.

However, the pandemic's uncertain trajectory globally, with new concerning variants emerging like the highly immune-evasive XBB sub-variant and the recently-detected KP.2 offshoot, underscores the continued need for vigilance.

A recent preprint study warns that KP.2 appears more transmissible and better able to evade vaccine-induced immunity than previous strains.

While Covid-19 is currently under control in Vietnam, the ministry stressed preparedness plans under Decision No.3984 in case of a resurgent, vaccine-resistant outbreak exceeding healthcare capacities.

With over 432,000 Pfizer doses stockpiled and expiring in September 2024, the ministry aims to stay ahead through proactive vaccination of vulnerable groups as the virus continues evolving.

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