HCM CITY — Hospitals in HCM City are strengthening preventive measures against COVID-19 after 55 employees, mostly in administrative departments, at the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases tested positive for coronavirus.
Speaking at an online meeting on Monday, Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, head of the city’s Department of Health, said that 55 of 924 employees at the hospital had tested positive.
All of these employees had received two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Most of the positive cases are employed in the IT and administrative departments. The hospital’s doctors and nurses have all tested negative for coronavirus.
Test results show that the viral load of the positive cases was low, possibly because they had already received two doses of the vaccine.
The staff who tested positive are healthy and are not in serious condition, and have no symptoms.
A contagious-disease expert at the city Children’s Hospital No 1, Trương Hữu Khanh, said: “No vaccine can protect 100 per cent against disease. So vaccines against COVID-19 are the same. Vaccinations will help keep COVID-19 patients from becoming seriously ill or even dying. And they will not be able to spread the germ to others strongly.”
Professor of Infectious Diseases Trần Tịnh Hiền at Oxford University has said that the “rate of vaccinated people who have tested positive for coronavirus is 5 per cent to 10 per cent. This is not a failure of the vaccine.”
The protection efficiency for people getting vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is 60 per cent after 28 days, according to a survey conducted of 159,930 adults aged more than 70 in the UK from December 2020 to February this year.
The primary analysis of Phase III clinical trials from the UK, Brazil and South Africa published as a preprint in The Lancet confirmed that the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalisations more than 22 days after the first dose.
Results demonstrated vaccine efficacy of 76 per cent after the first dose, with protection maintained to the second dose. With an interval of 12 weeks or more between the two doses, vaccine efficacy increased to 82 per cent.
The analysis showed the potential for the vaccine to reduce asymptomatic transmission of the virus, based on weekly swabs obtained from volunteers in the UK trial. The data showed that PCR positive readings were reduced by 67 per cent after a single dose, and 50 per cent after the two-dose regimen, supporting a substantial impact on the transmission of the virus.
The primary analysis for efficacy was based on 17,177 participants with 332 symptomatic cases from the Phase III UK, Brazil and South Africa trials led by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, a further 201 cases than previously reported.
According to a press release from AstraZeneca, the AstraZeneca US Phase III trial of AZD1222 demonstrated statistically significant vaccine efficacy of 79 per cent at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and 100 per cent efficacy at preventing severe disease and hospitalisation.
This interim safety and efficacy analysis was based on 32,449 participants with 141 symptomatic cases of COVID-19. Vaccine efficacy was consistent across ethnicity and age. Notably, in participants aged 65 years and over, vaccine efficacy was 80 per cent.
Two staff at Gia Định People’s Hospital in HCM City tested positive after contact with one of the positive cases at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. The Gia Định hospital staff who tested positive do not have a fever, sore throat, or loss of taste and smell. They also received vaccinations in late April.
The Hospital for Tropical Diseases has been disinfected, and many measures have been taken to stamp out the spread. The hospital is currently treating 126 COVID-19 patients, including 18 seriously ill cases.
Dr Nguyễn Anh Dũng, director of Gia Định People’s Hospital and head of the hospital’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, said the hospital’s two staff who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and had contact with the person at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases had not visited other departments and sites on its campus.
The hospital has tested its entire staff and disinfected the entire area. The staff who tested positive work in the hospital’s microbiology department which has been isolated.
“The hospital will continue tightening preventive measures and screening,” Dũng said.
At Children’s Hospital No 1, staff have been divided into shifts. The staff must wear masks and not eat together. Many chairs in rooms have been removed.
Trần Văn Khanh, director of Lê Văn Thịnh Hospital, said: “The hospital has asked its staff to comply with the Government’s 5k message on face masks, disinfection, distancing, no gatherings, and health declarations. They are asked not to eat together.”
“The hospital’s staff are divided into many shifts because the number of patients visiting the hospital has fallen. All meetings in the hospital’s departments are carried out online,” Khanh said.
If anyone on the hospital staff has symptoms of COVID-19, they are required to report to local health officials and get tests at local health facilities. They are allowed to stay at home.
The hospital staff must fill out a health declaration form every day. Staff in the departments of microbiology, emergency, health examination, and contagious diseases are tested weekly.
The hospital has set up an examination and treatment facility for people who have a cough, fever, or loss of taste and smell, and another COVID-19 screening area outside the hospital before patients are brought to emergency departments.
Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, head of HCM City Department of Health, said that 821 COVID-19 community -transmitted cases have been recorded from May 18 to June 13 in the city. Districts Gò Vấp, 12, Bình Thạnh, Tân Bình, Bình Tân and Tân Phú have had the highest number of cases. The city has traced contacts and discovered small clusters, but has not found the original transmission source. VNS