13.08.2021, 16:18

Foreigners Get Early Vaccinations in Ho Chi Minh City

Recently, foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City expressed their gratitude and surprise when they received the Covid-19 vaccine early.

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Marcos Campos holds a certificate of vaccination after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, in District 4, Ho Chi Minh city, August 5. Photo: Marcos Campos

Marcos Campos, a Brazilian, registered for vaccination at a residential area in District 4 in early July. A month later, he received the vaccination schedule.

Campos thought he would wait four months to get vaccinated. Fortunately, Vietnam's vaccine rollout campaign began picking up speed. "To my surprise, I saw my name on the confirmation list on the morning of August 5," he said.

Campos expressed his gratitude that "Vietnam has generously vaccinated foreigners." He feels safer and continues to adhere to social distancing measures.

Campos is one of the foreigners who received the Covid-19 vaccine during the mass vaccination campaign of Ho Chi Minh City. The city has been accelerating this program to fight the pandemic, at a time when the country does not have enough vaccines.

For Lui Sieh, an American living in District 7, registration was even quicker. He enrolled in a local church on August 3 and was vaccinated just two days later. This was "surprise," he said.

However, Sieh encountered a number of obstacles. On the first day of going to the vaccination station at an entertainment center, he and his friend had to wait up to two hours because of overcrowding. He was asked to leave and return the next day. On August 6, Sieh received the Moderna vaccine after a two-hour wait.

"It's a relief to be vaccinated. I feel very fortunate and grateful," Sieh said. He said some people had to wait longer.

At the same injection site, Sieh's wife received the AstraZeneca vaccine. She postponed the injection twice because of some information errors and increased blood pressure.

Vietnam received a total of about 19 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinopharm. As of August 12, the total number of doses administered was 12,098,821, of which 11,006,121 people were injected, and 1,092,700 people were injected with the second dose. About 21% of the population in Ho Chi Minh City received the first dose of vaccine, 1% received the second dose.

Emma Schmidt, from Germany, said she and her colleagues waited nearly two months before receiving the vaccine in early August. Schmidt knew the date and location of the injection at the hospital the night before. She shared that the organization of the injection was very good, although it took about three hours.

She is delighted to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is licensed in Europe. Schmidt could see her colleagues again in two months. However, Schmidt is a bit sad because some of her colleagues are in isolation and cannot be vaccinated. They will register later in the residential area.

Schmidt hopes developed countries will continue to fund vaccines. She hopes that the current progress will not be affected as some countries plan to give their citizens a third dose, while poorer countries lack supplies. Through the Embassy, ​​she learned that her homeland Germany is a sponsor of the Covax mechanism, which is supporting vaccines for countries like Vietnam.

Vaccination against Covid-19 at a vaccination point in Thu Duc city, Ho Chi Minh city, August 1. Photo: VnExpress

Radhakrishnan MB, an Indian, living in Vietnam for more than two decades, received the AstraZeneca vaccine on August 6, after registering with the apartment management. Vaccination tents were set up on the premises of the building where he lived. Not only relieved and grateful, Radhakrishnan said that foreigners should show their appreciation to the Vietnamese government by doing concrete actions.

"We should give back," he said. Radhakrishnan encourages foreigners to donate to Vietnam's fight against the virus.

Having participated in many charity programs and regularly donated blood, Radhakrishnan said he wanted to ride a motorbike from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi right after being vaccinated to spread the message of blood donation. "It was my dream trip," he said.

Radhakrishnan MB holds a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 at the building in District 7, Ho Chi Minh city, August 6. Photo: VnExpress

Most foreigners have missed the opportunity to travel in and out of Vietnam. But they understand that this is not the right time.

Sieh and his wife are figuring out the holiday destination. Their friends are also considering traveling after the lockdown is over. Sieh wants to go to Da Lat, Dong Nai and Con Dao.

"We all miss the feeling of traveling," he said.

Currently, he and his family and friends prayed for Vietnam to be safe and sound. He understands this is a difficult period for both Vietnamese and foreigners.

Schmidt said she was pleased to see the vaccination campaign in Ho Chi Minh City accelerated. She hopes everything will return to normal. The first dose of the vaccine "put her at ease", but it was too early to let her guard down. Schmidt hasn't come up with a new plan as the city still implements social distancing, but she hopes that when the situation improves, vaccinated people can explore the country, while still taking precautions.

Campos hopes to get the second dose soon and prays that everyone gets vaccinated as quickly as possible. He hopes that people in "the country he loves" will soon return to normal life. If possible, he would like to spend Christmas with his family. If conditions do not allow, he will travel domestically.

"I'll wait until it's safe, not now," he said.

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Rosie Nguyen

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