07.07.2021, 07:16

Expats In Ho Chi Minh City Share Vaccination Experience

Sharing their thoughts after receiving Covid-19 vaccine jabs, expats living in Ho Chi Minh City said they owe a debt of gratitude to Vietnam.

A medical worker explains pre-vaccination guidelines to a foreigner on June 10. Photo Bao Quoc Te

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s current biggest hot spot of Covid-19, has launched a mass vaccination campaign in June. This recent development is a postive sign as Vietnam vaccine rollout is slowly-yet-surely ramping up. A lot of expats living in the southern city have been administered with the vaccine. While all hailing from different countries, expats felt the same feelings of relief and gratitude towards Vietnam's response to the virus.

Healthcare workers are caring with full hearts, heavy eyes

Marjan Kasraei Moghaddam, a teacher of International Schools of North America:

Marjan Kasraei Moghaddam is impressed with caring medical staff. Photo courtesy of Marjan

When I arrived at the vaccination revenue on April 27, everything happened like what I had predicted. The only worrisome thing was while waiting for the temperature check, everyone was sitting close to each other in a crowded stadium, which might cause infection risks.

I was particularly impressed with the attitude of the medical staff. Although they were working very hard, they provided detailed information about the vaccine before injecting it and asked me how I felt after the injection with a gentle and considerate attitude.

Foreigners like me have been away from home for a long time. Covid-19 has made us worried and insecure. The vaccine dose has been a shielding layer for our health and serves as a good remedy for our spirit.

Witnessing the special vaccination campaign in Ho Chi Minh city this time, I really admire the Vietnamese government for its efforts to do the best for the people. I believe I have chosen the right country to work in.

Sending vaccination photos to parents

Mauricio Osaki, a lecturer of Hoa Sen university:

A community fridge in Ho Chi Minh city where Mauricio Osaki puts food in for people in need. He spends his wage buying food for disadvanatged people. Photo courtesy of Mauricio Osaki

I received the vaccination schedule from Hoa Sen university on June 24 and I was administered with the first shot the next day.

I went alone to the vaccination site and waited for more than an hour to be called for my turn.

Stepping out of the vaccination room, I immediately sent a photo of me being vaccinated to my family. My parents are living in Brazil, which has been severely affected by Covid-19 with a very high death toll. Witnessing the devastating effects of the pandemic on everyone's health, my parents feel reassured when I have been vaccinated.

I owed a great debt to Vietnam after receiving this free vaccine shot so I think I have to do something in return.

Seeing people in Ho Chi Minh city severely affected by the pandemic, especially there are more homeless and needy people, I decided to use the wage from my teaching job to buy food for those in need.

My family booked a trip to Japan and Vietnam last April but had to cancel when the pandemic situation worsened. When the pandemic is over, my parents will visit Vietnam. We plan to travel around Vietnam to both experience the country and help stimulate domestic tourism.

Feeling lucky being in Vietnam at this time

Kyle Gibbons, a teacher at UK Academy International School:

Expats In Ho Chi Minh City Share Vaccination Experience

Kyle Gibbons hopes the pandemic will be over soon so that he can go home to visit family. Photo courtesy of Kyle Gibbons

It took me two hours to finish my vaccination process including 30 minutes of post-injection follow-up. I had some mild side effects like mild headache, lethargy and muscle pain in my arm but the symptoms had gone after two days.

Teachers like me have to interact with many students. I think a vaccinated teacher will bring a high level of safety to the classroom.

I hope my students will be also vaccinated so that they can go to school to meet friends and teachers.

In conversations with friends, we often tell each other how lucky we are to be in Vietnam during this difficult time.

My parents see Vietnam as a country with a lot of potentials. They are not too surprised to learn that I have the opportunity to be vaccinated while many people in my country have not.

I hope the pandemic will be over soon so that I can go home to visit my family and hope that this dose of vaccine can help me realize that wish easier.

In late June, Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said “There is no discrimination between Vietnamese and foreigners during the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.”

In the humanitarian spirit, the Vietnamese Government always cares for and supports foreigners living, studying and working in Vietnam so they can live normally and safely, and receive medical care and intensive treatment when necessary, Hang was quoted as saying by Vietnam News Agency.

"Foreign citizens will be vaccinated when Vietnam receives more vaccines, with the aim to create herd immunity to drive back the pandemic,” she said.

Kindness in difficult times

Richarda, a lecturer at Hoa Sen university:

Richarda, a Filipino expat in Ho Chi Minh city, has been vaccinated in late May. Photo courtesy of Richarda

I and other lecturers of Hoa Sen university were vaccinated on May 26.

My family has lived and worked in Vietnam for 18 years. I feel very fortunate that my whole family has been vaccinated in Vietnam. All citizens have seen how hard local authorities have been working to ensure the safety for the community.

The policy of free Covid-19 vaccination for all people, including foreigners, shows the care and compassion even in the most difficult times.

Vietnam’s policies of closing borders and restricting travel with other countries to control the pandemic are effective. However, with the emergence of new virus variants, I think there is still a lot of work to be done, especially the production of "made in Vietnam" vaccines.

I can no longer travel, see the beautiful sights in Vietnam, or return home during the pandemic.

I really hope the pandemic will be over so that I can fulfill my travel hobby. I hope both Vietnam and the Philippines, my hometown, will return to normality soon.

As many as 836,000 doses of Covid vaccine have been administered in the largest vaccination campaign of Ho Chi Minh city since mid June.

The city aims to vaccinate two thirds of the population by the end of this year.

Rosemary Nguyen