Vaccine diplomacy now urgent, long-term solution to stamp out COVID-19: Deputy FM hinh anh 1COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped from Japan arrive in Vietnam's Hanoi on June 16. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vaccine diplomacy is one of the strategies Vietnam is pursuing to secure supply of foreign-made COVID-19 vaccines as fast and many as possible to combat the pandemic, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu told reporters in a recent interview.

The complex COVID-19 crisis has hit every corner of the world, with its increasingly complex evolution in the Southeast Asia, and Vietnam is no exception.

The country has been internationally recognised for successful response to the COVID-19 as it remains among 10 nations with the lowest count of infections and deaths despite being the world’s 15th most populous country, he said. But the days ahead remain challenging for Vietnam as the country has been hit hard by the larger fourth wave of coronavirus due to the wide spread of the more contagious Delta strain.

“To fight the pandemic, vaccine access and vaccination are of great importance,” Vu said. Since the global outset of the COVID-19, the Party Central Committee’s Politburo and Secretariat and the Government have taken comprehensive measures to respond to the pandemic, including the adoption of a vaccine strategy, he noted, adding that it comprises three key points – accessing external sources of vaccine supply, strengthening international cooperation in vaccine production and technology transfer, and facilitating domestic vaccine development, in order to ensure safe and effective mass inoculation.

Vaccine diplomacy now urgent, long-term solution to stamp out COVID-19: Deputy FM hinh anh 2Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu. (Photo:
The deputy FM held that vaccine diplomacy is a very crucial part of the vaccine strategy as it is a not only urgent but also long-term solution to secure enough vaccines for Vietnamese people and to pave the way for the recovery of economic activities, given that the global supplies are limited and distribution remains unequal.

The vaccine strategy and “vaccine diplomacy” have been drastically underway at all levels, especially high level. The Prime Minister has engaged the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and relevant ministries and agencies as well as more than 90 Vietnamese missions overseas in the concerted effort, he continued. None of hundreds of high-level phone talks and meetings have gone without leaders of the Party and State discussing ways to step up vaccine cooperation and vaccine access with domestic and foreign partners.

The “vaccine diplomacy” has proved effective, Vu said, adding Vietnam has so far received 2.6 million vaccine doses via the COVAX global vaccine-sharing facility. COVAX has also committed to prioritising Vietnam in the next distribution, with 2 million doses of Moderna vaccine supplied by the US to the Southeast Asian country to be delivered on July 10. China sent half a million doses of its vaccines to Vietnam last month, while Japan vowed to provide the country with 2 million doses, half of which arrived in Hanoi on June 16 while 400,000 others were delivered to Ho Chi Minh City on July 2. The remainder will be on the way next week.

Vaccine diplomacy now urgent, long-term solution to stamp out COVID-19: Deputy FM hinh anh 3Vietnam seeks to strengthen international cooperation in COVID-19 vaccine production. (Photo: VNA)
He added that Russia has agreed to supply Vietnam a maximum of 20 million doses of Spunik V vaccine this year and transferred production technologies to Vietnamese vaccine maker VABIOTECH since July. Vietnam is also among the destinations of 80 million doses the United States has pledged to allocate worldwide via COVAX.

The Government and Prime Minister are urging for more drastic and effective “vaccine diplomacy” in the coming time, the official stated. Firstly, relevant ministries and agencies are requested to closely coordinate with each other to follow up the commitments made by suppliers to providing Vietnam with 150 million shots of vaccines, enough to inoculate 70 percent of its population. Secondly, the country will continue campaigning bilateral partners and international organisations to secure more doses; and thirdly, it will further bolster partnership to promote vaccine technology transfer and production for self-supply in the future./.