Vaccination for children aged 5-11 in Vietnam lagging behind

A health worker wearing protective clothing conducts a swab test on a boy at a testing center for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Hanoi on Aug 8, 2020. (NHAC NGUYEN / AFP)

SYDNEY / JAKARTA / WELLINGTON / KUALA LUMPUR -Vietnam's Ministry of Health has called for speeding up COVID-19 vaccination for children aged five to 11 across the country, and accelerating the inoculation of the third dose for those aged 18 and above, local media reported on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, Vietnam has administered nearly 217.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

The vaccination process for children in the age group of five to 11 has been slower than scheduled, and the inoculation rate of the third dose among adults has failed to reach the targeted goal, said the daily newspaper Vietnam News, citing a report from the ministry.

Vietnam previously set the goal to complete booster dose vaccination for people above 18 and full vaccination against COVID-19 for children aged five to 11 in the second quarter of this year.

As of Tuesday, the country has administered nearly 217.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including over 57.1 million third doses for people over 18 and nearly 2.7 million doses altogether for children aged five to 11.

Vietnam has about 70 million people aged above 18 years old and 11.8 million children aged five to 11, according to the news report. 

Passengers arrive at Perth domestic airport in Perth, Australia on March 3, 2022. Australia was fully open to vaccinated travelers after Western Australia on March 3 became the last state to lift border restrictions. (RICHARD WAINWRIGHT / AAP IMAGE VIA AP)


Australian medical think tank, the Doctors Reform Society of Australia, has made a call for the government to re-engage the public with pandemic prevention, and stop thinking the worst of the pandemic is over.

The DRS released a note on Wednesday that said despite record case numbers and deaths in recent weeks, governments have seemingly moved on from the pandemic and its control.

"Australia has, this week, hit a world record for COVID-19 cases with Australia now having the highest number of cases of COVID-19 per head in the world at 264 per 1,000 Australians," said Robert Marr, secretary general of the DRS.

The nation has recorded a total of over 6.6 million cases and nearly 8,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, the vast majority of which have been recorded since Australia relaxed public health measures and the arrival of the Omicron variant late last year.

Over the last seven days, 296 people have died with the virus nationally, averaging at over 40 people per day. Marr compared this to a major bus crash happening every day.

Rather than calling for a return to lockdowns or other restrictions, the organization hoped that the government would restart campaigns to highlight the need to get COVID-19 boosters and maintain public health precautions.

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"There will be new variants of COVID-19 spreading in Australia in the near future and, along with the winter flu," said Marr.

"This makes it urgent that the federal government urgently restarts the COVID-19 prevention publicity campaign rather than sitting back and congratulating itself for their past COVID-19 actions."

Similar calls have been made by other leading medical associations, the Australian Medical Association said citizens should begin to voluntarily wear masks citing heavy pressure on states' hospital and ambulance systems.

"We have to also acknowledge that COVID-19 has made it (ambulance ramping) worse and that COVID-19's not going anywhere," said Omar Khorshid, president of the AMA. 


India's COVID-19 tally rose to 43,127,199 on Wednesday with 1,829 new cases registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry's latest data.

Besides, 33 deaths from the pandemic registered across the country since Tuesday morning took the total death toll to 524,293.

There are still 15,647 active COVID-19 cases in the country, a fall of 753 during the past 24 hours.

So far, 42,587,259 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals, including 2,549 discharged during the past 24 hours. 

A worker walks past a mural as he sprays disinfectant amid fears of another wave of the coronavirus outbreak at a low income neighborhood in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb 5, 2022. (DITA ALANGKARA / AP)


Indonesia will drop requirements for people to mask up outdoors and for vaccinated travelers to show negative pre-departure tests, officials said on Tuesday, as COVID-19 infections decline in the Southeast Asian country.

Masks are no longer required outdoors as "the pandemic is getting more and more controlled", President Joko Widodo said in a statement streamed online.

But masks must still be worn indoors and on public transportation, he said, also recommending that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions or coughs continue to use them as well.

The new mask rules are set to take effect on Wednesday.

Indonesia will also no longer require a negative pre-departure test for foreign and domestic travelers, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told a news conference.

The latest measures were part of the country's transition to living with the virus, he said.

The easing of pandemic restrictions in Indonesia follows countries like Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia which also dropped their outdoor mask mandates in recent weeks.

Indonesia's daily COVID-19 cases have declined since the last peak in February, although the government has said it is monitoring the possibility of an uptick after the annual mass exodus during the Eid-al-Fitr holiday earlier this month.


Malaysia reported 1,469 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Tuesday, bringing the national total to 4,481,278, according to the health ministry.

There are three new imported cases and 1,466 new local transmissions, data released on the ministry's website showed.

Three more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 35,623.

The ministry reported 1,836 new recoveries, bringing the total number of cured and discharged to 4,415,146.

There are 30,509 active cases, with 36 being held in intensive care and 17 of those in need of assisted breathing.

The country reported 14,253 vaccine doses administered on Tuesday alone and 85.4 percent of the population have received at least one dose, 82.5 percent are fully vaccinated and 49.2 percent have received boosters.  

New Zealand

New Zealand recorded 32 more deaths and 9,570 new community cases of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

The ministry said in a statement that the total number of publicly reported deaths with COVID-19 in New Zealand is 1,017.

Among the new community infections, 3,297 were reported in the largest city Auckland, the ministry said.

In addition, 91 new cases of COVID-19 were detected at the New Zealand border.

Currently, 425 COVID-19 patients are being treated in New Zealand hospitals, including nine people in intensive care units or high dependency units.

New Zealand has reported 1,066,062 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.