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Limited COVID-19 vaccines not due to lack of budget, but supply constraints: Deputy PM

Update: June, 04/2021 - 18:16

 

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam had a meeting with representatives from business delegations in Việt Nam over COVID-19 vaccine matters and donations to the national COVID-19 vaccine fund. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên

HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam on Friday met with business associations to discuss access to COVID-19 vaccines and donations to the national fund.

Đam, who is head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, thanked the business community in Việt Nam for helping overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic to contribute to Việt Nam’s positive growth economic growth last year.

The Government sees the vaccine as the critical tool to contain the pandemic, and welcomes the business community to help bring vaccines to Việt Nam as early as possible and vaccinate as many people as possible to achieve herd immunity and return to normal life, he said.

Deputy PM Đam said the limited amount of vaccines to have arrived in Việt Nam so far (about 3 million doses of AstraZeneca from COVAX and the order from the manufacturer) is not due to a lack of State funds, but because of global supply constraints, and the Government would appreciate it if the public and business community could help with vaccine access and contributions to the fight against the pandemic.

Setting up the national COVID-19 fund aims to ensure a sustainable source of finance for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines in Việt Nam.

Đam said it’s understandable that many business associations – including foreign ones – have asked the Government to give vaccine priority to their staff and workers.

However, he said that “we could not just deprive the higher-risk people of getting vaccines because businesses make donations to the vaccine fund,” stressing the first to receive the jabs would be in line with Government’s Resolution 21 on priority groups and UN fair vaccine access principle.

Priority groups include front-liners like healthcare workers, staff at quarantine sites, contact tracers, military and public security forces; Vietnamese diplomats, customs and immigration officers; essential service workers in sectors like aviation, transport, tourism, utility; teachers and those who work at education and training facilities, those who work at State agencies and have regular contact with various people; people with chronic illnesses, people aged above 65; residents in pandemic-hit areas; and poor people and policy beneficiaries.

However, following large clusters of infections found in the northern provinces of Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh with large industrial bases including many foreign businesses like Samsung and Canon, the health ministry has revised the guidelines to include workers in factories and construction sites in the priority groups as well.

For the time being, Deputy PM Đam asked businesses to comply with the health ministry’s guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and control measures and to regularly assess COVID-19 safety in the workplace.

On behalf of the business community, Chairman of Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vũ Tiến Lộc said the business community would contribute to the national COVID-19 fund to buy, import and develop vaccines together with resources from the State budget.

As of June 2, 1,110,111 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in Việt Nam, mostly for frontline workers, and 31,177 people have received the full two-dose regime, according to the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation.

Việt Nam has negotiated for the delivery of a total of 170 million doses of vaccines from different manufacturers, with delivery expected in the last two quarters of the year. — VNS

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