Business community eager to contribute to Vietnam’s vaccination drive

Local and foreign businesses are willing to support the government to accelerate the vaccination progress to recover from the pandemic.
business community eager to contribute to vietnams vaccination drive
The business community is making donations to Vietnam’s vaccine fund

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said at last week’s meeting that the Ministry of Health (MoH) will continue to encourage localities and companies to increase COVID-19 vaccine access.

Accordingly, the MoH will create maximum conditions for all localities and businesses in the process of importing, licensing, and testing vaccines. Even in case the manufacturer requests exemption from liability, the MoH will be responsible for reporting to the government and act as the government agency to implement the inoculation.

The news has been highly appreciated by investors in Vietnam. Alain Cany, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) told VIR that EuroCham supports the government’s decision to work with business and join the public and private sectors in the fight against COVID-19. This will help to deliver a faster and more effective vaccination programme. European business is committed to supporting Vietnam in this vaccination drive.

He noted that one of the options on the table could be a form of public-private partnership. This could leverage the huge purchasing power and infrastructure of the state while also harnessing the innovation and expertise of the private sector.

“Another concrete action the government could take would be to reduce the length of quarantine for international investors and experts who have proof of vaccination in their home countries. This would enable trade and investment to increase safely, without risking the health of the public.”

“We also support the prioritisation of ‘at-risk’ groups for vaccination. We know from our experience in Europe that countries are able to open up once their older populations have been protected. This all would help to boost consumer confidence and ensure that normal life can resume sooner,” he added.

Likewise, AmCham and many of its members are urging the US government to prioritise Vietnam as they begin to donate surplus vaccine to other parts of the globe. The AmCham executive director Adam Sitkoff told VIR that they continue discussions with senior officials about vaccine procurement and distribution – including ways that AmCham members can assist Vietnam. US businesses are ready to contribute resources once there is a transparent plan and timeline for vaccine delivery.

“We also appreciate the government’s flexibility for trying to get vaccines into Vietnam. There is no magic plan that can make vaccines appear here quickly. COVID-19 is a worldwide problem and demand for proven vaccines far exceeds the available supply. Vaccine manufacturers are working hard to increase production but this isn’t like ordering toothpaste online.”

“It is hard to be patient in the middle of an outbreak but we should know that it is going to be a long time before Vietnam approaches community immunity. Until that happens, we will see additional outbreaks and disruption from the virus,” he stated.

As of present, around 1.04 million people in Vietnam have had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine but only 28,529 have been fully vaccinated. Vietnam has a deal with Pfizer for 31 million doses to be delivered in the third and fourth quarter of this year. The country is also in talks with Moderna to secure vaccines through its distribution partner in Asia, Zuellig Pharma.

Likewise, Vietnam has announced the establishment of a special fund to rally support from local and foreign individuals and organisations for purchase, import, research and production of COVID-19 vaccines. The fund, directly managed by the Ministry of Finance, welcomes voluntary financial and vaccine aid, assistance, and contributions as well as other lawful resources. The fund will help the country to realise the goal to acquire 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for its population to achieve herd immunity by the end of this year.

To help Vietnam speed up the vaccination programme, the EU have provided vaccines to Vietnam via the COVAX facility. European companies have also provided great support to Vietnam’s fight against COVID-19. In June 2020, the EuroCham Pharma Group donated $100,000 to the Vietnam Fatherland Front. Then, in August, the EuroCham Medical Devices & Diagnostics Sector Committee donated 12,000 test kits to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Besides he foreign companies, many Vietnamese giants have made timely support to the country’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, Sovico Group and HDBank have donated VND60 billion ($2.6 million) to Vietnam’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign via the MoH.

Another company, Ecopark, has made a $1 million donation to the COVID-19 fund to fight against the pandemic. The group also announced financial support for the import of 60,000 vaccine doses to inoculate 100 per cent of its employees and residents at its urban area projects.

Likewise, Vingroup also sponsors four million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed to the MoH. Previously, the group donated VND20 billion ($869,570) to the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals under the MoH to conduct a research and clinical trial of the “Made in Vietnam” COVID-19 vaccine COVIVAC.

Accordingly, the MoH estimates that Vietnam needs around VND25.2 trillion ($1.1 billion) to acquire 150 million vaccine doses. Among them, VND16 trillion ($695.65 million) will be sourced from the state budget while VND9.2 trillion ($400 million) will be mobilised from the local budget and businesses.

The nationwide demand for vaccines is high as Vietnam is facing surging COVID-19 cases with more than 3,000 infections within May. The country is scrambling to control the outbreak at some industrial parks to avoid supply chain disruptions.

By Thanh Van

Nguồn: Vietnam Investment Review

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