The Australian Embassy in Hanoi and UNICEF on Monday unveiled a landmark A$13.5 million (US$10.5 million) package to help support the successful introduction and delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses in Vietnam.
The Australia-UNICEF partnership will provide a unique and holistic package that will assist Vietnam across a range of areas that are vital to the successful delivery of a mass immunization program against the coronavirus, the UN body said in a press release the same day.
“Our support will help Vietnam purchase cold chain equipment to store and transport vaccine doses to where they are needed around the country, provide training courses and materials to ensure Vietnam’s health workers and officials are ready, and assist with the development of immunization plans in Vietnam’s remote provinces to ensure equitable and uniform vaccine coverage,” Robyn Mudie, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, was quoted as saying in the press release.
Introducing a new vaccine especially for COVID-19 is a colossal task for any government with many important steps involved, said Rana Flowers, UNICEF representative in Vietnam.
UNICEF is committed to working with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health and other partners to support the introduction and roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in Vietnam, thanks to the partnership with the Australian government, Flowers added.
“No one is safe until everyone is safe, so mass vaccination against COVID-19 is an important step to contain the pandemic, protect frontline workers who serve children and for Vietnam to reopen to the rest of the world,” she remarked.
The package will help Vietnam reach the prioritized 20 percent of its population by the end of 2022 and set the foundation necessary for immunizing the remainder as vaccines are rolled out nationwide.
Funding is drawn from Australia’s A$523.2 million ($407 million) regional Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative, as well as from its bilateral development cooperation program with Vietnam.
In total, Australia has committed A$40 million ($31 million) over three years to support Vietnam’s vaccine procurement and delivery efforts.
On April 1, 811,200 AstraZeneca doses arrived in Vietnam as part of 30 million shots the COVAX scheme had promised to supply to the country free of charge this year.
The COVAX scheme is a facility co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines as well as ensure fair and equitable access for every country.
The Southeast Asian country received the first-ever shipment of 117,600 AstraZeneca shots via direct purchase from the eponymous company on February 24.
The government has vaccinated over 79,000 people since it launched the national inoculation campaign on March 8, according to the Ministry of Health.
Vietnam has registered 2,791 coronavirus patients as of Monday evening, including 2,475 recoveries and and 35 deaths, according to the health ministry’s data.