Vietnam: COVID-19 Response
On January 23, 2020, Vietnam reported its very first case of COVID-19. May 6th marked 100 days of COVID-19 in Vietnam, and 100 days of strong cooperation between Vietnam and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vietnam has excelled in controlling COVID-19 through strong leadership and coordination, rapid case detection and isolation, aggressive contact tracing, and strict quarantine measures.
CDC has contributed since day one, building on 22 years of partnership to join with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation. Specifically, CDC provides support in a variety of ways to the Government of Vietnam (GVN), including direct technical assistance for laboratory testing, field investigations, surveillance, data analysis, and infection prevention and control. Through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CDC is also at the forefront in ensuring all HIV patients have unbroken access to essential treatment services during the pandemic. Additionally, GVN has dedicated 30 percent of its in-country staff to support the U.S. COVID-19 response in Vietnam.
In January, very early in the response, CDC quickly recognized the value of having protocols in place so that field investigations could be conducted rapidly and rigorously. CDC worked with World Health Organization (WHO) and MOH to promptly translate and adapt WHO’s “First Few X Cases” (FFX) protocol, a method to characterize the first cases of COVID-19 in any affected country. In February, CDC and GVN MOH mobilized graduates of Vietnam’s CDC-supported Field Epidemiology Training Program Short Course to deploy to Vinh Phuc province in the north of Vietnam where clusters of COVID-19 were found. CDC also collaborated closely with MOH to investigate the cluster in Vinh Phuc province and to visualize and analyze the data in real time. CDC replicated this experience for additional cases in Thanh Hoa province and at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, the site of Vietnam’s first healthcare-associated cluster of COVID-19.
CDC has supported training on sample collection, biosafety, and laboratory testing of COVID-19 for 24 provincial CDCs, 61 hospitals (including 30 in Hanoi, 16 in the Central Highlands, 11 in the central coast provinces, and 4 in Ho Chi Minh City), and 9 animal health laboratories, in collaboration with WHO, the Vietnam Administration of Medical Services, the Department of Animal Health, and the regional public health institutes. As CDC Vietnam moves forward into the next 100 days, collaborative and transparent working relationships with GVN and the U.S. government will remain essential.