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Health Ministry seeks Covid-19 vaccines for children

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HCMC – Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long has worked with the ambassadors of Australia, France and Switzerland to Vietnam to access more Covid-19 vaccine sources and seek vaccines for the local children.

Minister Long said one of Vietnam’s priorities in the fight against the pandemic is accessing the most possible sources of Covid-19 vaccines at the earliest and it expects to receive support from the three countries, news site VnExpress reported.

Long also proposed these countries work with the Covax Facility so that Covid-19 vaccine batches can be provided to Vietnam soon.

Within the current context, Vietnam is in dire need of Covid-19 vaccines, the minister noted.

Mobyn Mudie, Australian ambassador to Vietnam, said Australia had contributed AUD130 million (US$100.6 million) to the Covax Facility. Of the total, AUD40 million will be used to support Vietnam in purchasing Covid-19 vaccines, vaccination and consultancy through the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

Australia is also producing Covid-19 vaccines, so it hopes to directly supply the vaccines to Vietnam in the second half of the year, Mudie added.

Minister Long said he expected to vaccinate children aged from 12 to 18 and proposed using AUD13.5 million out of the AUD40 million to buy the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for Vietnamese children.

Regarding the vaccination of foreigners in Vietnam, Long said Vietnam wanted to provide Covid-19 vaccines for all people. However, the vaccines have been prioritized for residents in pandemic-hit areas and those working at the frontlines due to their scarcity.

Embassies can import Covid-19 vaccines as non-merchant products to vaccinate their citizens. Vietnam will support them in the import, procedure, process and verification and direct the local competent agencies to carry out the vaccination at no charge.

Swiss ambassador to Vietnam Ivo Siebber said Switzerland had supported the Covax Facility by contributing toward the purchase of three million Covid-19 vaccine doses and providing technical support to developing countries. Swiss drug companies in Vietnam also affirmed to support Vietnam in accessing the Covid-19 vaccines.

Minister Long expected DKSH and Zuellig Pharma, two drug companies of Switzerland, to accelerate the supply of Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam.

Vietnam expected the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, provided by Zuellig Pharma, would soon arrive in HCMC, which has the largest population and poses the highest risk of pandemic transmission in Vietnam, Long said.

The Swiss ambassador committed to urging Covax to provide the vaccines to Vietnam. DKSH and Zuellig Pharma will also seek ways to import the vaccines at the earliest.

Minister Long also expected French ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery to offer further support to Vietnam in procuring Covid-19 vaccines, besides the support through Covax. Sanofi and some other French drug companies are conducting the third phase of their Covid-19 vaccine production, so Long expected them to transfer the vaccine production technologies to Vietnam to help Vietnam develop and produce the vaccines.

The French ambassador proposed importing the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and injecting French people in Vietnam, prioritizing those over 55 years of age.

In response, Minister Long said Vietnam supported the import of Covid-19 vaccines as non-commercial goods of the French side. Some international organizations and countries have imported Covid-19 vaccines under this model with simple procedures.

The Ministry of Health will create the most favorable conditions for enterprises to import Covid-19 vaccines and inoculate laborers in France-invested companies in Vietnam.

Import procedures have been simplified, so proposals to import Covid-19 vaccines will be considered and approved within five to 10 days.

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