Donations piling up for end of pandemic misery

September 08, 2021 | 16:58
Vaccine support from other countries has been highlighted as a paramount answer to effectively slow the presence of new virus variants in Vietnam while strengthening the public healthcare system.
Australia handed over its first 403,000 of 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to be shared with Vietnam this year
Australia handed over its first 403,000 of 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to be shared with Vietnam this year

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son last week met with Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo, discussing the latter’s swift support to fight against the pandemic. Minister Son extended his gratitude to the Chinese government’s donation of two million vaccine doses and suggested that the two sides work together to accelerate vaccine rollout as soon as possible.

On August 23, Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence received 200,000 doses Sinopharm and 201,600 single-use syringes donated by the Chinese counterpart.

Two days later, the country received 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca from the Romanian government. Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MoH) also received more than 210,000 doses of AstraZeneca and 40,800 Moderna doses from the Czech Republic at the end of last month.

Meanwhile, India has delivered a medical relief package consisting of 100 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen and 300 oxygen concentrators to Vietnam.

Likewise, Poland has also donated more than 501,000 doses of AstraZeneca, along with around essential medical equipment worth $4 million. Vietnam is the first non-European country to which Poland has given such support.

As of the start of September, the total number of vaccines available in Vietnam reached 29.5 million doses thanks to various support from different sources, including government support, the COVAX facility, and commercial contracts.

Of these, there are 10.1 million doses purchased by the MoH through Vietnam Vaccine JSC, three million doses sponsored by Japan, and six million doses funded by the US through the COVAX mechanism. As expected, there will be more than 9.3 million doses of vaccine arriving to Vietnam in September alone.

The donated vaccines through the COVAX sharing mechanism will allow well-supplied countries to share vaccine doses with others to help protect the most at-risk populations globally.

In other initiatives, France announced last month it would send 670,000 vaccine doses to Vietnam under the COVAX mechanism, while Hungary has pledged to send 100,000 doses.

Also in late August, Australia delivered 403,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses as part of its ongoing commitment to be a long-standing strategic partner. This was also the first instalment of Australia’s commitment of 1.5 million AstraZeneca doses to be shared with Vietnam this year.

“Together, we are united in the fight against COVID-19. Australia’s support for Vietnam’s national vaccine rollout will help save lives and promote economic recovery. As friends and partners, we will emerge from this crisis stronger and more determined to face future challenges,” said Robyn Mudie, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam.

Moreover, Australia would provide additional doses through its partnership with UNICEF plus funding for syringes and cold chain equipment, including 1,900 fridges and five refrigerated trucks, training for healthcare workers, and support for vaccine rollouts in some remote provinces.

In a meeting with the United Nations resident coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra on August 31, Minister Son emphasised that Vietnam wants the UN to continue providing vaccines through the COVAX mechanism and accelerate the process of vaccine technology transfer.

By Tri Lam

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