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Mar 15, 2022 / 11:34

Vietnam’s high vaccine coverage – testament to solidarity: WHO

International support becomes relevant for the successful vaccination in Vietnam over the past two years, enabling the country to reopen the economy.

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) believed that Vietnam’s high vaccination rate indicates the solidarity of Vietnamese people.

 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-general, makes remarks on Vietnam's pandemic fight in a recorded speech video. Photos: Nhat Bac/VGP

The vaccine coverage that reaches more than 90% of adults in the country of 100-million people and 75% of its population has also shown a remarkable testament to the government leadership and the commitment of the people, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a recorded speech video at an event held in Hanoi on Mar 14.

Vietnam is a prime example of what is possible with political commitment, a cohesive community, and international support, Ghebreyesus said at an appreciation ceremony in which the Government of Vietnam thanked the support of international donors in the fight against Covid-19 over the past years.

Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam, United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim in Vietnam, believed that ingenious leadership of the Government and the solidarity of the people in Vietnam have always been an important lesson, although the journey to combat the pandemic remains difficult.

Vietnam soon achieved the vaccination target set by WHO thanks to its vaccine diplomacy and quick, safe and effective vaccination campaign, Flowers shared at the event.

“The success of vaccination in Vietnam is not only the figures but the lives saved. Fewer people are hospitalized while medical facilities are not overwhelmed, enabling routine recovery plans,” she said.

She said the successful pandemic control in the past two years has made Vietnam an example in achieving the highest vaccination rate, protecting its people, including the poorest and the most vulnerable.

 Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam, United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim in Vietnam speaks at the Appreciation Ceremony on Mar 14.

Valuable support

One year ago, Vietnam received the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines delivered by COVAX Facility, a global vaccine sharing scheme led by WHO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) and GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance, with UNICEF as key delivery partner.

Since the first batch of more than 800,000 doses came on April 1, 2021, Vietnam has so far received more than 100 million doses from COVAX and more than 30 countries through bilateral channels.

The donations came from the US, the biggest donor with more than 26 million doses donated, followed by Germany with over 10 million, Australia (nearly 8 million), China (7 million), Japan (6 million), Italy (3 million), France (2 million), Poland (nearly 1.5 million), South Korea (one million), among others.

Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said the support is from various countries, international partners, important partner countries, and traditional friends.

“All international vaccine support for Vietnam has been delivered to the people by the Vietnamese Government in a timely, safe and effective manner,” Son shared at the event.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh thanked the international donors for their timely and great assistance to Vietnam in the tough time over the past two years. “The valuable support by the international community for Vietnam at the most difficult time clearly demonstrates sincere affection, international solidarity, friends in need, in line with the spirit of leaving no one behind.”

Chinh highlighted that this health crisis is a global issue that requires a global approach taken through solidarity, joint efforts, consensus, and coordination. No country can be safe while others still have to fight the pandemic, and no country can successfully fight the pandemic alone.

Vietnam has called for international solidarity, upholding multilateralism to fight the pandemic together, especially sharing experience in fighting the pandemic, medical equipment and fair and equal access to vaccines and drugs.

As the pandemic affects everybody as a whole, no one is safe while other people are still sick, so a people-wide approach must be taken. It means putting people’s safety first, taking people as the center and the subject in policymaking and anti-pandemic fight.

 Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the event.

Vietnam’s contributions

Vietnam, despite its difficulties, has extended timely support to other countries, the COVAX Facility and the WHO-led Covid-19 Response Fund, sent health professionals abroad, and treated United Nations officials who were infected with Covid-19.

In its tenure as ASEAN Chair in 2020, Vietnam proactively promoted solidarity and coordinated the joint efforts in the Covid-19 response. In 2020, the United Nations chose December 27 as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness following Vietnam’s initiative.

With its contributions and efforts, Vietnam has been chosen among few countries to take tech transfer of mRNA vaccines by WHO, allowing the country to be vaccine self-sufficient and international supplier.

On this occasion, the Vietnamese PM declared to make the third contribution to the COVAX Facility and shared experience with other countries in the pandemic fight. 

 PM Pham Minh Chinh (L) and Nitin Kapoor, Chairman and General Director of AstraZeneca Vietnam & Frontier Markets.

Vietnam’s results

PM Chinh said Vietnam has identified three pillars in combating the year-long pandemic, namely quarantine, testing, and treatment.

The country’s 5K principle (masking – disinfection – distance – no gathering – medical declaration) together with drugs, technology, and awareness has proved to be effective over the past time. Of the measures, vaccine is considered the safest shield against Covid-19.

Chinh said the comprehensive efforts have enabled Vietnam to switch from zero-Covid strategy to flexible adaptation to the virus, step by step reopening the economy. As a result, GDP growth rate rose to 5.22% in the fourth quarter of 2021 from minus 6% in the third quarter. It helped Vietnam close 2021 with the growth rate of 2.58%.

The Vietnamese PM stressed the importance of pandemic control in reopening schools as it’s the central point of the recovery plans, saying that in-person schooling is essential for students and the best way to ensure their rights.

More importantly, the success of the vaccination drive in Vietnam largely comes from the international support, the PM emphasized.