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|Vietnam covers bases thanks to US vaccine schemes|
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will be in the US on May 10-17 to attend the ASEAN-US Special Summit, and pay a visit to the US and the United Nations. The US and ASEAN are expected to discuss vaccine cooperation which will help the latter boost regional nations’ socioeconomic recovery and development. The US also wants to provide more vaccines to Vietnam.
On April 19, an additional 1.7 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in Hanoi through the COVAX facility, bringing the total number of vaccines the US government has supported in Vietnam to almost 40 million.
“But our work is not done - we will continue our partnership with Vietnam to provide assistance to ensure a safe and strong recovery from this pandemic,” said the US Embassy to Vietnam on its website. “From the nearly 40 million COVID-19 vaccines donated to the thousands of influenza vaccines administered to healthcare workers, we’re proud to highlight how the United States and Vietnam are working together to support the safety and health of the Vietnamese people. Through strong immunisation programmes, we can stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases and ensure long, healthy lives for ourselves and our children.”
In February, PM Chinh proposed that Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla help accelerate the delivery of 22 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 in Vietnam in the coming days, with a goal of completing the contract by May at the latest.
The Vietnamese PM said that this move will help protect children’s health and effectively carry out the safe reopening of schools. This was the second round of talks between PM Chinh and Pfizer’s leader since Vietnam suffered its pandemic peak in the middle of last year.
In addition, Vietnam hopes to promote strategic, long-term cooperation with Pfizer in pharmaceuticals, technological research, development and transfer, and health capacity improvement for Vietnam.
With the close cooperation of Pfizer and the timely supply of vaccines from countries, including the US, Vietnam has successfully implemented a rapid vaccination strategy and transitioned to effectively controlling the pandemic in order to restore production activities and promote economic recovery.
In March at a ceremony at the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and UNICEF marked their recent provision of $1 million in life-saving equipment and vaccine administration supplies to Vietnam to assist with its pandemic response.
The equipment and supplies, funded by USAID and delivered through UNICEF between November 2021 and February 2022, include 2.5 million syringes, 125,000 face masks, and 250 portable patient monitors.
“The US and Vietnam have built on decades of collaboration and friendship, drawing on each other’s strengths and capacities, to jointly identify and address the highest priorities when responding to the pandemic,” said USAID Vietnam mission director Ann Marie Yastishock.
Along with supporting Vietnam in battling the pandemic, the US has over the past two decades been providing assistance to the Southeast Asian nation in healthcare in general.
“Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $1 billion in health assistance for Vietnam to increase prevention and control of infectious diseases by building sustainable health systems that support Vietnam’s efforts to plan, finance, and implement solutions,” said USAID on its website. “This support includes assistance to help prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and zoonotic diseases.”
In collaboration with the Vietnamese government and community-based organisations, USAID provides funding and technical support to expand and improve services for the prevention and control of HIV and tuberculosis, advance local ownership of HIV and tuberculosis prevention and treatment, and strengthen Vietnam’s capacity to control and respond to priority global health threats posed by infectious diseases.
Currently, Vietnam’s government has approved nine vaccines for emergency use. Only Pfizer and Moderna, both from the US, have been approved for children under 18 years of age in Vietnam. Since April 16, many cities and provinces have begun vaccinating children of 5-12 years old using these two vaccines.