Vietnam’s COVID-19 fight won’t be ending anytime soon, with the number of daily cases still hitting four digits and the deaths piling. For a country that used to pride itself on successfully containing local outbreaks as the world scrambled to impose lockdown measures, Vietnam is now seeing its worst health crisis in modern history create irreversible effects to its economy and people.
But Vietnam isn’t fighting alone. In recent months, several foreign governments, private organizations and WHO-led initiatives have been extending help to the country through vaccine and medical supply donations, as well as messages of support.
Albeit global supply shortage in coronavirus vaccines, Vietnam has managed to receive about 19 million vaccine doses — a large part of which were gifted by countries that have now slowly recovered — enabling the continuous, though slow, vaccinations in hard-hit localities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Bac Ninh to move forward.
As of August 4, 6.7% of the country’s 98 million people have had at least one jab.
Earlier this week, Vietnam welcomed two shipments of vaccines — 1.8 million doses from the COVAX facility and another 415,000 doses from the United Kingdom.
World Health Organization representative for Vietnam, Dr. Kidong Park, emphasized on Monday that COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective lifesaving tools the world has right now.
While the UK government does not provide its citizens living in Vietnam with vaccines, the more than 400,000 AstraZeneca vaccines they have donated and the millions more they sent to the COVAX facility will help accelerate Vietnam’s vaccination efforts.
In July, the United States sent more than five million Moderna vaccines to Vietnam, as part of US President Joe Biden’s campaign to share vaccines where they are most needed, and it's considering giving more vaccines in the coming months.
The governments of Czech Republic and Romania also pledged to donate 250,000 and 100,000 doses, respectively.
In late June and early July this year, Japan donated three million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Vietnam.
Australia, meanwhile, committed to providing 40 million AUD in aid and 1.5 million vaccine doses.
Russia and China, which manufacture their own vaccines, also donated a number of vaccines to the country. On June 20, 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines for COVID-19 donated by China arrived in Hanoi. The vaccines were to be administered to Chinese citizens in Vietnam, Vietnam people who need to work in China and people living in border areas of north Vietnam. Russia, meanwhile, permitted the production of its Sputnik V vaccines in Vietnam by the Vabiotech Pharmaceutical.
French Embassy's own vaccination drive
To further help alleviate Vietnam’s burden on vaccination, the French government set up its own vaccination campaign for the French community here.
Last week, the French Embassy vaccinated more than 2,400 French nationals and their spouses in Ho Chi Minh City. They plan to inoculate the 7,000 French nationals registered in the country with Moderna vaccines in the coming days. Eligible persons are all French nationals who are older than 18 and their spouses (married or have marriage agreement), and to all employees (and their spouses) engaged in French diplomatic work.
“The French government has decided to vaccinate French nationals in 65 countries, where the vaccination program is not yet fully deployed and where the virus circulation is high,” French Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Vincent Floreani told Vietcetera. “We strongly encourage our nationals to abide by the anti-COVID rules decided by national and local Vietnamese authorities”
Because of the extended lockdowns, the Consul General admitted that many French nationals have decided to go back home.
France has so far vaccinated 32.6 million people or nearly 50% of its population.