20.06.2021, 14:45

COVID-19 Vaccine Fund: The key to beating the pandemic

COVID-19 Vaccine Fund: The key to beating the pandemic

75-year-old war veteran Le Van De (third from left) from Thanh Ha District, Hai Duong Province donates VND4.5 billion to the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund (Photo: vietnamnet.vn)   

NDO – The launch ceremony of the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund on June 5 (Vaccine Fund) in Hanoi, attracting the attention of Vietnamese both at home and abroad. In such a short time, many organisations, units, businesses as well as individuals from all walks of life have enthusiastically made donations to the fund as a way to express the patriotism, solidarity and mutual support of the Vietnamese people.

In the face of increasingly complicated and unpredictable developments of the COVID-19, Vietnam has chosen vaccination coverage to create herd immunity as the most sustainable "shield" for all Vietnamese people. This is a strategic, long-term and decisive solution to help the country escape from the pandemic. Therefore, along with access to vaccine sources, the funding to purchase vaccines plays a very important role.

In this context, the Party and State of Vietnam made a sound and prompt policy to establish a vaccine fund to mobilise social resources from domestic and foreign organisations and individuals to share with the state budget for the purchase and import of vaccines as well as for research, development and production of domestic vaccines.

The vaccine fund is an effective solution, helping to mobilise the full involvement of entire society in the pandemic prevention and control. Therefore, soon after the fund debuted, it received enthusiastic appreciation and contributions from many organisations, businesses, and people at home and abroad, which proved that our country’s precious tradition of solidarity and mutual support is always well preserved and promoted to help the nation overcome all challenges and obstacles.

It is touching to see that many Vietnamese Heroic Mothers, families of policy beneficiaries, retirees, war veterans, public servants, religious practitioners, students, overseas Vietnamese, and even businesses who are still facing many difficulties due to COVID-19, have made their donations to the fund with a common hope that the pandemic will soon be repelled.

Among them was 75-year-old war veteran Le Van De from Hamlet 8, Trang Liet Village, Thanh Son Commune, Thanh Ha District, Hai Duong Province, who decided to donate all of his savings to the fund. Explaining his decision, De said that we need to be unanimous and unite in the fight against the “COVID-19 enemy”. “Every citizen is a soldier, by standing together, we will defeat the enemy”, he emphasised.

This kind act has partly shown that, whenever the country faces difficulties, Vietnamese people, regardless of age, social background and religion, are always willing to give a helping hand and unite to show a sense of responsibility to the motherland.

Voicing her opinion about the fund’s launch, Do Thu Huyen, an Overseas Vietnamese (OV) in Spain, said that the fund has awakened people's patriotism, complimenting that Vietnam has always made prompt and appropriate plans to deal with urgent problems.

Sharing the same view, Phung Tue Chau, an expat in the US hailed that the Vietnamese Government has been active in protecting the people’s health, calling on her fellow countrymen to join hands with the State in the COVID-19 battle.

We believe that social resources mobilised from the fund will make a timely addition to the State budget; and together with the proactive and enthusiastic participation of the entire political system, organisations, businesses and individuals at home and abroad, it will help Vietnam will have adequate vaccines to cover the entire population. This is an important condition to help Vietnam control and repel the pandemic.

Since COVID-19 broke out in Vietnam, the State’s budget has been promptly allocated to the fight against the pandemic as well as to supporting those facing difficulties due to COVID-19. The mobilisation of social resources for the Vaccine Fund is a timely and necessary move to call on people to share the current burdens with the Government while showing their responsibility to the country. It is also persuasive evidence that a strong government is a government that can rely on its people and knows to uphold the people's strength.

However, despite that fact, on many pages and social networks, some hostile organisations and individuals have ceaselessly criticised and distorted the establishment of the Vaccine Fund, saying that purchase and import of vaccines is the task of the Government, so the Government must deal with this by itself. They described the launch of the Vaccine Fund as “a failure of Vietnam”, “an act of stealing money from the people for dubious intentions.” Some Vietnamese-language newspapers abroad also published several articles and opinions questioning the fund's transparency, saying that the distribution of vaccines in Vietnam is unfair, or they even made up stories that the Vietnamese Government has forced people to make donations to the fund. Such blatant and wrongful fabrications have created waves of indignation among the public.

Vietnam needs around VND25 trillion to buy 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in order to inoculate 70% of its population for herd community. (Photo: VNA)

A recent UNDP study showed that people in Vietnam are highly in favour of the Government’s COVID-19 prevention and control measures. UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen expressed her belief that people from all walks of life, especially businesses will respond to the Government’s call and make contributions to the newly established fund.
Representatives of international organisations in Vietnam and many foreigners have also spoke highly of the vaccine fund initiative as well as the solidarity and sense of responsibility amongst the people in the COVID-19 fight.

Dr Kidong Park, WHO representative in Vietnam, said the Vietnamese Government’s mobilisation of resources to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines was made in a timely manner and in line with the global vaccine initiative. The Government’s management and equitable use of donations from individuals and private firms is hoped to result in new values for the strategy to fight the ravaging pandemic, he added.

Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator Kamal Malhotra said this was a good initiative which has been supported by the UN for months. He said only the Government would have adequate capacity to coordinate this fund.

For his part, Hong Sun, Vice President of the Republic of Korea (ROK)’s Business Association in Vietnam (Korcham), highly appreciated the Vietnamese Government’s initiative, as COVID-19 prevention and control is not the task of the Government or a specific organisation only, but it must involve all people and businesses. He established the fund’s debut as a demonstration of the Vietnamese people’s spirit of solidarity. He noted that many ROK business in Vietnam have made donations to the fund. He also applauded the Vietnamese Government’s priority on vaccinating workers at industrial parks, particularly in pandemic-hit cities and provinces, saying that the decision showed the Government’s determination to stabilising production and ensuring workers’ livelihoods, thus gaining more trust from foreign investors.

Charlie Winston, an American actor and MC who has lived and worked in Vietnam for a decade, commended that the Vaccine Fund is a breakthrough idea with noble and humane meaning with the aim of helping all people get vaccinated and create herd immunity, protect people's health and life. He stated that there will be a lot of resources to support the Fund, from people and businesses at home and abroad to foreigners living in Vietnam.

Regular updates on the fund’s balance demonstrate the publicity and transparency of the fund, contributing to consolidating people’s trust in making donations.

Article 4 in the Prime Minister's Decision No. 779/QD-TTg dated May 26, 2021, on the establishment of the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund, states that the not-for-profit fund will use the mobilised capital for the right purposes, in line with legal regulations, while ensuring transparency and efficiency. It is subject to examination, inspection, and auditing by relevant State agencies and to supervision from the Vietnam Fatherland Front and the community.

Since its launch, information about the fund has been regularly published and updated through mass media, so that people can easily exercise their supervision rights. All contributions to the fund, which are made voluntarily and in accordance with the law, are highly appreciated.

The enthusiastic response of organisations, businesses, and individuals at home and abroad to the fund has shown the consensus and support of the whole society towards a sound and prompt guideline of the Party, State and Government of Vietnam. Facing the complicated development of the pandemic, Vietnam has shown the joint efforts and determination of the entire nation, which are the key to beating the pandemic and returning to a normal, peaceful, and safe life as affirmed by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.