Tuesday , February 7 2023

Vaccine diplomacy helps Vietnam save $900M: foreign minister

Vietnam had received 260 million Covid-19 vaccine doses and almost half of them were donated, saving more than US$900 million for the state budget, said Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son.

Son said at a Wednesday conference when the pandemic entered its second year in 2021, accessing vaccines was a difficult task for Vietnam due to the global shortage and complicated regulations on producing, distributing, and trading vaccines.

In April 2021, Vietnam, with a population of 96 million including 22.5 million adults, had got just 320,000 doses as given by Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, or Covax, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization to ensure equitable access to vaccines.

Given the situation, the nation’s leaders had organized and made more than 130 meetings and phone calls and sent more than 100 letters to other governments as well as international organizations so that Vietnam could get access to as many vaccine sources as it could.

By October last year, the country had received 97 million doses and medical equipment worth $80 million as gifted by more than 30 governments, aside from international organizations and oversea Vietnamese communities.

The U.S. had aided Vietnam with more than 40 million doses of vaccines, making it the largest donor of Vietnam while Vietnam was its biggest vaccine receiver by far.

Until recently, Vietnam has received 260 million Covid-19 vaccine doses and almost half of them were donated, allowing the country to save more than US$900 million for the state budget, said Son.

“The vaccine diplomacy campaign had been deployed drastically, quickly, and gained success beyond expectations,” Son said, adding that the policy had helped Vietnam “turn the table around” and became one of the nations with the highest vaccine coverage rate by January this year.

“Thanks to widespread vaccine coverage, the country was the first country in the region to have shifted its strategy from response to the pandemic to safe adaptation,” he added.

Apart from the donated vaccine, Vietnam bought 45 million doses, including 25 million acquired by private companies.

So far, Vietnam has administered 251.68 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, including the fourth doses.

The country has made Covid-19 eligible for children from five years old.

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