A teenage girl receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said on January 20 his Ministry is working on a COVID-19 vaccination plan for children aged 5 to 11 to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the campaign. The Ministry is also working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the matter.

So far the WHO has yet to issue any official guidance for vaccinations of children aged 5 to 11, said Long, adding only some countries have commenced vaccinating children as young as five against COVID-19.

Amidst public concerns about vaccinations for children, the Prime Minister has recently ordered the Ministry of Health to conduct a survey and make recommendations.

“This is a very important issue. We can’t rush things, and we have to take concrete steps to ensure maximum safety for children,” Minister Long said.

At the meeting, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh also asked the Health Ministry to study lessons from other countries to ensure the safety and effectiveness of vaccination for children before making a final decision.

Lunar New Year goods introduced at supermarket chain Carrefour

More than 700 local products are being introduced throughout the Vietnamese Lunar New Year Week at Carrefour's supermarket chain in France to help local people gain greater insights into both Vietnamese culture and cuisine, reported the Voice of Vietnam.

Ambassador Dinh Toan Thang introduces the way Vietnamese people celebrate the lunar New Year holiday to French friends. (Photo: VNA)

Addressing the opening ceremony of the event on January 20, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Dinh Toan Thang advised local firms to maximise the benefits from the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and retail distribution chains like Carrefour to make further inroads into European hypermarkets.

Bruno Lebon, CEO of Carrefour, emphasised that the event aims to mark the time-honoured relationship between Carrefour and its Vietnamese partners, and at the same time provide an ideal venue for in which Carrefour’s customers can explore Vietnamese cuisine and products.

Nhat Thanh Khiem, representative of an importer in France, affirmed that the function has helped accelerate the penetration of Asian and Vietnamese culinary products in the French supermarket chain.

Khiem recommended that Vietnamese companies work out proper marketing strategies in a bid to suit the tastes of French consumers in order to facilitate the entry of Vietnamese goods, especially agricultural products and foodstuffs in the French market in the future.

Vu Anh Son, chief representative of the Vietnam Trade Office in France, highlighted the effectiveness of the tripartite co-operation model among representative agencies abroad, importers, and retail distributors in working alongside large corporations in France.

Apart from developing brands specifically for Vietnamese goods in the French market, he said Vietnamese companies have the opportunity to reach a large number of French consumers by penetrating the hypermarket chain and other retail distribution networks.

Son suggested that local firms improve their product quality in order to meet the stringent requirements set by importers and elevate the overall prestige of Vietnamese products among international partners in the future.

At present, several supermarkets and retail distribution chains in France have unveiled plans to increase the proportion of Vietnamese goods within their own distribution system. The move is expected to create opportunities for Vietnamese goods to reach a large number of potential French customers in the future, according to insiders.

Special Tet celebrations for coast guard force

Unlike many other Vietnamese people, soldiers on Coast Guard ship CSB 4031 celebrate the traditional lunar New Year holiday (Tet) early before taking on long routine patrol missions at sea, reported the Voice of Vietnam.

A portrait of President Ho Chi Minh is solemnly displayed on the altar on board Coast Guard ship 4031.

During the last days of the 12th lunar month when everyone rush to go home to celebrate Tet with their families, soldiers who make up the coast guard force set sail to protect the country’s waters and islands.

Before leaving the mainland, officers and soldiers on board the ship complete all preparations for a voyage lasting for more than a month at sea. The ship is filled with food to welcome in the new spring season whilst at sea.

Preparations are carried out very thoughtfully, with boats loaded full of essential items such as Chung cake, ochna branches, peach branches, a colourful fruit tray, and spring rolls.

Nguyen Sy Thanh, one of the soldiers on board ship CSB 4031, says he has six times celebrated Tet at sea.

“I have spent 14 years joining coast guards and six years celebrating Tet with other soldiers out at sea. We set out on a mission to protect national sacred sovereignty,” confides Thanh.

Soldiers make Chung cake to celebrate an early Tet.

As Thanh is away from home, he has few opportunities to help his wife with the housework or take care of their young children.

“I always encourage my family and wish them a happy Tet. After the mission I will go home and visit my family,” shares the young soldier.

Major General Bui Quoc Oai, political commissar of the Vietnam Coast Guard, pays a Tet visit to all officers and soldiers of the ship, encouraging them to stand firm to protect the country’s sea and islands.

Nearly 10,000 tonnes of rice aid proposed for the needy

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) has proposed the Prime Minister provide over 9,877 tonnes of rice in aid for needy households during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday and the between-crop period of early 2022, reported Vietnam News Agency.

Rice bags are delivered to needy people (Photo: VNA)

The MoLISA said on January 20 that the fourth wave of COVID-19 has driven a number of people into difficulties such as job losses, furlough, and income reduction. Meanwhile, abnormal weather conditions like hailstorms, floods, and drought have also resulted in hardships for many, particularly ethnic minority people, poor and near-poor families.

Facing that fact, seven provinces hit hard by the pandemic and natural disasters, namely Tay Ninh, Cao Bang, Phu Yen, Ninh Thuan, Nghe An, Gia Lai, and Quang Binh, asked the PM for more than 11,448 tonnes of rice aid for 197,952 households, with 658,525 people, during Tet and the between-crop period.

In the initial phase, the MoLISA proposed over 9,877 tonnes of rice be delivered free of charge to the seven provinces. That includes about 6,902 tonnes for 141,659 households with 460,147 people during Tet, and 2,975 tonnes for 56,293 households with 198,378 people to survive the between-crop period./.

Compiled by BTA