|Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính and AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot. — Photo from the Việt Nam Government Portal|
HÀ NỘI — The CEO of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, has pledged to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to Việt Nam on time and increase vaccine supplies to the country this month.
During a phone talks with Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Thursday, Soriot said AstraZeneca will also do its best to meet Việt Nam’s requests.
PM Chính spoke highly of AstraZeneca’s role and its contributions in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic globally and in Việt Nam, adding that AstraZeneca vaccines, one of the most commonly used in the world, make an important contribution to driving back the pandemic.
The Vietnamese Government leader suggested that the CEO accelerate vaccine delivery along with the completion of a 31 million dose contract to provide the country with more vaccines in September and later this year.
The PM proposed AstraZeneca discuss with other countries the possibility of borrowing or repurchasing the vaccines they do not need at present, while stepping up the implementation of deals for vaccines for children, and those at high risk with underlying health conditions.
The Vietnamese Government encourages and creates favourable conditions for foreign firms to operate and expand in pharmaceuticals and health care, he said, stressing that Việt Nam wants to foster strategic, comprehensive and long-term partnership with AstraZeneca not only in the field of vaccines, but also to help boost the country’s health capacity.
The cooperation is not just for commercial purposes but also for humanitarian and social welfare, he noted, adding that he has assigned the Vietnamese diplomatic mission in the UK to work directly with AstraZeneca to expedite concrete cooperation plans.
In response, Pascal Soriot paid high regard to Việt Nam’s COVID-19 efforts, especially the vaccination strategy.
The company is hopeful of more long-term cooperation with Việt Nam, a fast-growing economy with a dynamic market and 100-million-strong population.
It was the second time in a short period that PM Chính has directly talked with a senior representative of AstraZeneca to accelerate the delivery of vaccines, showing the Government’s determination and drastic actions to carry out its vaccine diplomacy policy and the Party and State’s consistent remit of placing people’s health and safety above all else.
Health authorities have noted that there would be a limited amount of vaccines coming to Việt Nam in August and September, with most of the deals due to be fulfilled in the final months of the year, while the fourth wave in the country is still raging with 7,000-8,000 daily new cases and hundreds of deaths, especially in the southern region.
To date, the country has administered nearly 16 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with more than 1.5 million having two jabs. — VNS
More vaccines arrived
Also Thursday, a further 1,209,400 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Việt Nam.
This is the ninth shipment as part of the British pharmaceutical company’s deal with Việt Nam Vaccine Company (VNVC) and with support from the Vietnamese health ministry.
6.7 million doses – out of 31 million for 2021 – have been delivered so far, after the first shipment arrived in late February.
14.3 million doses of AstraZeneca have arrived in Việt Nam, through VNVC, COVAX Facility, as well as bilateral governmental aid, accounting for 62 per cent of the national vaccine stockpile.
AstraZeneca was the first COVID-19 vaccine to have received conditional approval for use in emergency outbreak situation in Việt Nam. — VNS