Vaccination drive aspires to put end to health crisis

July 22, 2021 | 16:28
The nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign targeting people aged 18 and above will help businesses evade further production stagnation, but many workers may have to be patient until they can access the vaccine.
Photo Duc Thanh
Photo: Duc Thanh

Like many other businesses in Vietnam, ore mine Nui Phao Mining (NPMC) – a member of Masan High-Tech Materials Corporation based in the northern province of Thai Nguyen – has been seriously affected since the outbreak of the pandemic. To maintain its operation, protecting the health of over 1,000 employees is now the company’s primary concern in parallel with recovery of economic losses.

The company established a fund together with its owner Masan Group to support quarantined workers and conduct COVID-19 tests every seven days for employees and contractors.

Vo Tien Dung, director of External Relations, Community and Environment said, “Nui Phao Mining is actively looking for vaccine sources in order to build the fastest vaccination plan possible. The company is ready to cover all vaccination costs for employees.”

To date, 38 staff members of NPMC who have to travel regularly for work took the first vaccine dose. “We will continue vaccination for 94 employees in the next phase and have submitted a vaccination plan for the remaining 1,200 employees in order of priority to the government for early approval,” Dung said.

Businesses are worried about quarantine, affecting production progress and time of order delivery, and along with NPMC, many have repeatedly expressed their desire to soon access vaccine supplies for their staff.

One of the major enterprises in Vietnam’s textile and garment sector, Vinatex, previously told the government of its willingness to cover all costs for vaccination of its employees. “Vinatex businesses will need to spend around VND100-200 billion ($4.3-8.6 million) to prepare for a programme to take care of vaccines for the employees,” said Vinatex chairman Le Tien Truong.

The European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam’s chairman Alain Cany said, “There is no route out of this current wave without an ambitious and accelerated mass vaccination programme. European companies are prepared to cover the cost of protecting their own staff – this will help to speed up vaccination while also reducing the financial and administrative burden on the state.”

The concerns of businesses were answered somewhat when the government decided to launch a free COVID-19 vaccination campaign this month. It is set to continue to the end of April 2022 with the goal of targeting 70 per cent of the population.

Priority subjects for vaccination in this phase include employees working in businesses and production facilities, or providing utility services, food, healthcare, or some other industries. In addition, workers in industrial zones and shippers at delivery units are also being proposed to be included in the priority groups.

So far Vietnam has been promised 105 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from multiple sources and is negotiating to secure another 45 million doses to create herd immunity by the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022.

In July alone, about nine million doses of vaccine will arrive in Vietnam. Vaccines will be given priority in Ho Chi Minh City and provinces in the southeast and southwest regions that are experiencing increased infections, along with some localities that need to maintain economic prosperity.

The largest vaccination programme in Vietnam’s history immediately received enthusiastic support from businesses and other countries. Truong Hai Auto Corporation has donated 126 specialised vehicles, half for transporting vaccines and the remainder for mobile vaccination and taking samples for testing.

By Thai An

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