HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam will begin inoculating children against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from next month, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as the Southeast Asian country begins reopening its schools following months of lockdown.
Children aged 16 and 17 will be offered the shot with parental consent, initially “in the areas that had been under movement restrictions and densely populated areas where the infection risks are high,” the ministry said in a statement.
So far, just 22% of Vietnam’s population of 98 million have been fully vaccinated,
Average daily COVID-19 infections have fallen below 3,600 over the past week from almost 12,000 last month but schools in some areas, including in the capital Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City – an epicentre of the epidemic – remain closed.
Authorities in the northern province of Phu Tho this week closed several schools after more than 150 students and teachers caught the virus, state media reported on Tuesday.
Vietnam has recorded over 892,000 COVID-19 infections and 21,700 deaths, the majority in the past few months.
(editing by John Stonestreet)