Health ministry explains vaccine delay for children

March, 17/2022 - 16:47
The Ministry of Health has explained the purchase delay to buy COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines for children aged 5-12, confirming that it depends on Pfizer which is compiling the contract.

 

Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19. —AFP/VNA Photo 

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health has explained the purchase delay to buy COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines for children aged 5-12, confirming that it depends on Pfizer which is compiling the contract.

The explanation was made following a request by Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, who ordered the examining and inspection of the vaccine purchase.

The Government approved the Ministry of Health’s proposal to purchase 21.9 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children from 5 to under 12 years old on February 5.

The contractor selection will follow the special circumstances model specified in Article 26 of the Law on Bidding due to the urgent nature of ongoing pandemic prevention and control.

The Ministry of Health is responsible for organising the purchase and deployment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children from 5 to under 12 years old, ensuring safety and effectiveness.

Following the decision, the Ministry of Health promptly worked with Pfizer to negotiate and complete a draft contract for the vaccine purchase. However, the completion of the contract depends on Pfizer, which is in charge of compiling it.

The negotiation has been made as follows:

  • The Ministry of Health sent a document on February 10 to propose Pfizer complete the vaccine purchase contract, confirm the price for each vaccine dose, and deliver enough vaccines in the first and second quarter this year.
  • Pfizer sent the draft contract to the ministry on February 25.
  • The ministry and Pfizer held an online meeting on February 25 to discuss the draft contract.
  • Pfizer sent a letter of confirmation about the vaccine price and contract contents on March 4.
  • Pfizer sent a letter on March 7 to clarify some comments by the Ministry of Health at their online meeting held on March 1.
  • The Ministry of Health sent a document to Pfizer on March 10 to ask the company to clarify part of the contents of the contract.

During the negotiation process with Pfizer, the ministry received information that the US Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) is likely to donate around 10 million doses of vaccine to Việt Nam. The ministry reported the information to the Government on March 10.

Also, on March 8, during a meeting between the Prime Minister and a delegation from the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), members of the board announced plans to donate the Moderna vaccine for Việt Nam to inoculate children aged 5-11.

The Ministry of Health proposed that the US side soon inform Việt Nam about the specific amount of vaccines and the time of donation. The ministry can report to the Government about purchasing the remaining amount of vaccine doses from Pfizer.

The ministry then proposed the Government allow the ministry to sign the contract to purchase 21.9 million vaccine doses from Pfizer if it has not yet received any information about the specific amount of vaccines to be donated from the US as of March 15. If the contract is signed, the ministry will cancel the vaccine donated by the US to prevent wastefulness.

Preparations for vaccinating children aged 5-11

Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said the health sector is making plans for human resources and infrastructure to inoculate children aged 5-11 and the fourth dose for people with underlying diseases and other vulnerable groups.

Việt Nam has so far administered more than 200 million doses of vaccines. From a country with a low vaccination rate, Việt Nam has become one of the countries with the highest vaccine coverage rates in the world. The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalised or getting worse symptoms, and related deaths is dropping.

During this vaccination campaign, Việt Nam has received great support from the Government and people of other countries and international organisations such as UNICEF and WHO via the COVAX mechanism.

From the first batch of more than 800,000 doses delivered to Việt Nam via the COVAX programme on April 1, 2021, the country has received more than 53 million doses through the programme.

The total vaccine doses sent to Việt Nam via the COVAX programme and bilateral donation reached nearly 83 million doses, accounting for almost 40 per cent of the vaccine doses the country has received so far. — VNS