25.02.2021, 16:44

Vietnam pledges to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long works with representatives from international organizations on COVID-19 vaccine- related issues.

The Ministry of Health has worked alongside representatives of the two organisations on issues relating to vaccination licensing, recipients of vaccination, immunisation communication, among a number of other things.

Speaking during a recent meeting alongside WHO and UNICIEF representatives, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long thanked the scheme launched by COVAX as it has created favourable conditions in which the country can gain early access to the COVID-19 vaccine. In relation to priority groups who will receive the initial doses of COVID-19 vaccinations, all parties consented to comply with the Government's Resolution that strives to ensure fairness in access to vaccines for pandemic prevention.

Representatives from the international organisations agreed upon the need to mobilise the involvement of different economic sectors in the storage of certain vaccines like Pfizer that must be kept at minus 70 degree Celsius and can be refrigerated for only five days.

Moving forward, the country aspires to have access to a range of vaccines that can ensure quality, affordability, suitability, and preservation according to the conditions of conventional vaccines, according to Minister Long. In line with this, the Ministry of Health has pledged to immediately solve problems relating to the procedure in order to ensure that vaccines of the COVAX Facility are imported as soon as possible.

Following the meeting, the Ministry of Health embarked on the country’s largest ever vaccination campaign, with more than 100 million doses set to be used in an effort to vaccinate the local population. The Ministry of Health is therefore urgently preparing various scenarios and mobilising all units inside and outside the health sector which will be involved in the injection process with a specific view to speeding up the injection rate. This will ultimately ensure the widest coverage possible in order to ensure that people’s lives can return to normal as soon as possible, thereby reducing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local activities.

WHO and UNICIEF representatives

Most notably, the issue of vaccine preservation has also been discussed and carefully scrutinised, with cold storage systems for COVID-19 vaccines domestically capable of storing doses in good condition.

The nation expects to have 80% of its population vaccinated against COVID-19. However, according to the current supply, the country will only be able to inject 20% of the population in the 2021 and 2022 period, targeting 95% of those vulnerable to virus infection.

The COVAX Facility will provide free vaccines and injection devices to help inoculate citizens in 92 countries globally, including Vietnam.

With regard to the post-injection assessment, experts believe that no vaccine can guarantee 100% safety, especially COVID-19 vaccines, which have been developed in a short space of time. Therefore, monitoring the post-injection response remains critical.

The Ministry of Health has issued guidelines for this assessment, but it will have to be further clarified in order for it not to cause fear among local people who have a reaction to the vaccine, Minister Long added.