Ensuring vaccine supply to safely live with COVID-19

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu, who doubles as deputy head of the Government Working Group on Vaccine Diplomacy, talks about Vietnam’s efforts to effectively implement the vaccine diplomacy.

Ensuring vaccine supply to safely live with COVID-19

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu. 

Amid the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for vaccines has become more urgent and the Government Working Group on Vaccine Diplomacy was established with the aim of mobilising vaccine sources. After the group was established, how has vaccine diplomacy changed?

The establishment of the Government Working Group on Vaccine Diplomacy is a timely decision of significant meaning of the Prime Minister with the aim of promoting the vaccine strategy of the Government. It also originated from the early policy of the Politburo and the Party Secretariat in ensuring rapid access to vaccine sources for people to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since its establishment, with the direction of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, the group has worked non-stop and closely and effectively coordinated in all steps, including assessing, consulting and proposing measures and ways to mobilise and exchange with partners to have the quickest and greatest access to vaccine sources.

With contributions of the group, I think there are two important changes in vaccine diplomacy. That is the smooth and methodical coordination in implementing vaccine diplomacy at all channels and levels, particularly at the high-ranking level in getting access to bilateral and multilateral partners; together with different ways to access vaccine sources, from purchasing to accessing to multilateral vaccine mechanisms and mobilising vaccine donations.

A more important change is more vaccines arriving in Vietnam since the group started operating.

In August, Vietnam had around 16 million doses of vaccines but the figure increased to over 54 million doses in late September. Vietnam is expected to have enough sources of vaccines to vaccinate the majority of the population by the end of this month. 

Can you share difficulties as well as advantages in implementing vaccine diplomacy?

Ensuring the fastest sources of vaccine for nearly 100 million Vietnamese people is not an easy task. The biggest difficulty is that the supply is limited while the demand is huge. Not only Vietnam but most developing countries also face a vaccine shortage.

Particularly, the rapid transmission of the Delta variant has caused more pressure to get access to vaccine sources for many countries at the same time. As a result, the supply fails to meet demand and vaccines become rarer.

Besides, many developed countries increased the purchase and storage of vaccines while unequal access to vaccines has not yet improved.

However, we still have advantages in implementing vaccine diplomacy. That is Vietnam’s international position; and a wide network of friends and partners that Vietnam has built and developed, including strategic partners, comprehensive partners and traditional friends.

That is also the important position of Vietnam’s economy in the global supply and production chain. Therefore, many countries have strived to help the country in vaccine access to ensure there is no interruption in the supply chain.

Additionally, Vietnam previously promoted its traditional cultural values and solidarity in the early period of the pandemic by providing international friends with face masks and medical materials and equipment to help prevent and control COVID-19. This has been highly appreciated by international friends who in return are willing to support Vietnam in the current context. 

As a Government agency managing Vietnamese representative agencies abroad as well as an agency of the Government Working Group on Vaccine Diplomacy, how has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs implemented vaccine diplomacy to fully tap these advantages?

Foreign minister Bui Thanh Son, head of the working group, confirmed from the early stage that vaccine diplomacy is a focus of economic diplomacy for national development.

Inside the country, the Foreign Ministry assigned a unit to act as a coordinator with ministries and sectors and mobilise the participation of all units of the ministry in implementing vaccine diplomacy.

Outside the country, representative agencies play an important role in implementing vaccine diplomacy. They act as the frontline forces in directly getting access to and connecting vaccine sources from abroad. They have arranged hundreds of talks and working sessions between high-ranking leaders of Vietnam as well as leaders of the ministries of health and foreign affairs with partners and international organisations on the issue.

The highest goal is to bring in more vaccines, treatment drugs and medical equipment to Vietnam as soon as possible to serve people.

At the same time, Vietnamese representative agencies abroad coordinated with other units to organise many flights to transport vaccines to Vietnam. 

Which measures has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs taken to ensure its diplomatic mission while contributing to the Government’s efforts in COVID-19 prevention and control via vaccine diplomacy?

 

Vaccine diplomacy is an urgent task of the diplomatic mission at present. There is a connection and support between vaccine diplomacy and other diplomatic activities.

With the spirit of promoting the pioneering role of the diplomatic sector in ensuring a peaceful and stable environment for national development while contributing to combating COVID-19, the ministry has resolutely carried out groups of measures.

The ministry has proactively adapted to the new situation to promote online diplomatic activities and gradually reconnected in-person activities. It has also focused on mobilising potential partners to support Vietnam in the fight against COVID-19, particularly in donating vaccines, medical equipment and medicines.

The sector has sped up research and consultancy for the Government to use international experience in COVID-19 prevention and control as well as in economic development in the 'new normal'.

As a result, the diplomatic task has been implemented comprehensively, contributing to maintaining a peaceful and stable environment as well as raising the country’s prestige and gradually combating the COVID-19 pandemic. 

How are the vaccine prospects for Vietnam from now until the year end and what are orientations and focuses of vaccine diplomacy in the future?

I believe that under the direction of the Party and State together with the direct participation of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who also acts as head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and the smooth and effective coordination of ministries and sectors in implementing vaccine diplomacy, the prospect for getting access to vaccines of Vietnam is positive.

If partners fulfil their commitments, from now to the year end, particularly in October, the amount of vaccines arriving in Vietnam is good.

Vaccine diplomacy in the future will focus on three main issues with top priority giving to promoting the implementation of vaccine procurement agreements signed between the Government and the Ministry of Health with partners and vaccine manufacturers around the world.

Besides, focus will be placed on continuing to promote cooperation with potential partners in getting access to new sources of vaccine to serve demand in 2022 and the following years; and on seeking partners who can provide vaccines for around 20 million Vietnamese children as well as vaccines to inoculate people with the third dose. Many countries have started offering booster shots to their population to increase the efficacy of the vaccine.

Vietnam will also enhance technology transfer cooperation to be able to produce vaccines and have more autonomy in vaccine supply. 

The COVID-19 pandemic cannot disappear quickly, so the Government has clearly defined that the pandemic prevention and control strategy must shift from “Zero COVID” to living safely with COVID. So what should we do to have stable and long-term sources of vaccine supply to ensure a new normal with COVID-19?

The World Health Organisation and many countries have said that COVID-19 will continue existing for a long time and consider it a seasonal flu.

Therefore, the Government’s decision to shift from the zero COVID strategy to living safely with COVID is reasonable and in line with the global situation and orientation.

Living with COVID requires good preparation. International experience and reality show that vaccines and treatment drugs are still decisive factors in gradually controlling the pandemic. So in the future, Vietnam needs to get access to stable and long-term sources of vaccine supply as well as to gradually have autonomy over vaccine supply in order to ensure adaptation to the pandemic and economic recovery and development during the new normal period.

The COVID-19 pandemic still develops and changes quickly with the appearance of different variants, requiring regular updates and adjustments to preparation and control methods, testing, vaccination and treatment to ensure the highest effectiveness.

It is also necessary to increase international cooperation to ensure autonomy in vaccine supply; promote cooperation in vaccine production and technology transfer; and support the domestic production of vaccines and COVID-19 treatment drugs.

Strengthening information dissemination to raise public awareness of long-term adaptation to the pandemic to encourage them to strictly abide by COVID-19 prevention and control measures in the new normal conditions is also needed, contributing to protecting the health and safety of society.

Source: Vietnam News

“Vaccine diplomacy” working group to promote fast access to Covid-19 vaccines: foreign minister

“Vaccine diplomacy” working group to promote fast access to Covid-19 vaccines: foreign minister

Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, head of the newly-established government working group on vaccine diplomacy, talks with the media about the group’s tasks and role.

President Phuc proposes solutions to provide vaccines for developing countries

President Phuc proposes solutions to provide vaccines for developing countries

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has proposed a number of solutions for developing countries to have access to more COVID-19 vaccines at the Global COVID-19 Summit themed “Ending the Pandemic and Building Back Better".

 
 

Other News

.
Prime Minister meets Canadian counterpart, Zambian President
Prime Minister meets Canadian counterpart, Zambian President
POLITICSicon  03/11/2021 

PM Pham Minh Chinh had separate meetings with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on November 2 on the sidelines of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

PM meets UN Secretary-General, leaders of some European countries
PM meets UN Secretary-General, leaders of some European countries
POLITICSicon  02/11/2021 

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the government leaders of the UK, Germany and Croatia in Glasgow on November 1 evening (London time).

PM Chinh meets US President, other leaders at COP26
PM Chinh meets US President, other leaders at COP26
POLITICSicon  02/11/2021 

PM Pham Minh Chinh held an array of meetings with US President Joe Biden, President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan Ocha, and CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility(GEF).

Vietnamese Vice President pays official visit to Greece
Vietnamese Vice President pays official visit to Greece
POLITICSicon  02/11/2021 

Vietnamese Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan paid an official visit to Greece at the invitation of Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou from October 31 – November 2.

PM calls on nations to make commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions
PM calls on nations to make commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions
POLITICSicon  02/11/2021 

PM Pham Minh Chinh has called on countries to make strong commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions on the basis of common responsibility that suit their conditions and capacity.

PM meets with Australian counterpart, EC President on sidelines of COP26
PM meets with Australian counterpart, EC President on sidelines of COP26
POLITICSicon  02/11/2021 

PM Pham Minh Chinh had bilateral meetings with Australian Prime Minister and President of the European Commission on the sidelines of the COP26 in the UK on November 1 (local time).

PM Pham Minh Chinh hosts business, university leaders in UK
PM Pham Minh Chinh hosts business, university leaders in UK
POLITICSicon  01/11/2021 

PM Pham Minh Chinh hosted leaders of ten foreign corporations and leading British universities in Edinburg, Scotland, on October 31 (local time), as part of his visit to the UK for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

PM witnesses signing of 26 cooperation deals between Vietnam, UK
PM witnesses signing of 26 cooperation deals between Vietnam, UK
POLITICSicon  01/11/2021 

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended and witnessed a ceremony to sign 26 cooperation agreements between ministries, sectors and businesses of Vietnam and the United Kingdom (UK) on October 31 (London time)

PM Pham Minh Chinh's trip to Europe and Vietnam’s responsibility for global issues
PM Pham Minh Chinh's trip to Europe and Vietnam’s responsibility for global issues
FEATUREicon  01/11/2021 

Attendance at COP26 has been a good opportunity for Vietnam to express its views on climate change, and to affirm its determination to contribute responsibly to global efforts.

PM starts trip for COP26, visit to UK
PM starts trip for COP26, visit to UK
POLITICSicon  31/10/2021 

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh landed at Prestwick airport on October 31 morning (local time), starting his trip for COP26 and a working visit to the UK at the invitation of his counterpart Boris Johnson.

PM leaves on Europe tour
PM leaves on Europe tour
POLITICSicon  31/10/2021 

PM Pham Minh Chinh left Hanoi October 31 for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, and for visits to the UK and France from October 31-November 5, at the invitation of his British and French counterparts Boris Johnson and Jean Castex.

New rules for Party members set up to enhance Party discipline
New rules for Party members set up to enhance Party discipline
POLITICSicon  29/10/2021 

On behalf of the Party Central Committee, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has signed off Regulation No. 37-QD/TW on the “things that Party members must not do”.

Vietnam, Cambodia further coordination in building shared border of peace, development
Vietnam, Cambodia further coordination in building shared border of peace, development
POLITICSicon  29/10/2021 

Vietnam and Cambodia will continue their close coordination to effectively implement legal documents regarding the land border to ensure a shared borderline of friendship, peace, stability, cooperation and sustainable development.

President addresses online high-level debate on UN-AU cooperation
President addresses online high-level debate on UN-AU cooperation
POLITICSicon  29/10/2021 

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the virtual high-level open debate on cooperation between the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) on October 28, 

PM Pham Minh Chinh to attend COP 26, visit UK, France
PM Pham Minh Chinh to attend COP 26, visit UK, France
POLITICSicon  28/10/2021 

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will lead a Vietnamese delegation to the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 26) to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in early November.

PM attends 16th East Asia Summit
PM attends 16th East Asia Summit
POLITICSicon  28/10/2021 

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 27 evening attended the 16th East Asia Summit (EAS).

Permanent Court of Arbitration sets up rep. office in Vietnam
Permanent Court of Arbitration sets up rep. office in Vietnam
POLITICSicon  28/10/2021 

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has decided to establish its representative office in Vietnam under an agreement signed with the Vietnamese Government in Hanoi on October 27.

PM proposes establishment of regional social security network
PM proposes establishment of regional social security network
POLITICSicon  27/10/2021 

Also in the framework of the 38th and 39th ASEAN summits and related summits, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended the ASEAN+3 summit, which includes ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

PM attends five conferences on first day of 38th, 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits
PM attends five conferences on first day of 38th, 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits
POLITICSicon  27/10/2021 

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended five conferences on October 26, the first working day of the 8th and 39th ASEAN Summits and related Summits from October 26-28.

Vice President meets acting Prime Minister, Foreign Minister of Bulgaria
Vice President meets acting Prime Minister, Foreign Minister of Bulgaria
POLITICSicon  27/10/2021 

Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan met with Bulgaria's caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev and Minister of Foreign Affairs Svetlan Stoev in Sofia on October 26, during her ongoing official visit to the European nation.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN