US considers further COVID-19 vaccine and tests support for Viet Nam: Ambassador

By VNA / DA NANG Today
July 26, 2021, 09:27 [GMT+7]

The US is considering further vaccine and other COVID-19 support to Viet Nam , according to the Viet Nam ese ambassador in the US Ha Kim Ngoc.

The US has just sent additional three million doses of the Moderna vaccination to Viet Nam over the weekend as a donation via the global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX, bringing the total to 5 million from the US.

Viet Nam has finalised deals with AstraZeneca and Pfizer as well as commitment from COVAX (along with ongoing negotiations with various other vaccine makers) but the majority of the shipment would concentrate in the fourth quarter of the year amid critical global shortage, while the country is battling the serious fourth wave that has resulted in more than 90,000 cases.

“The vaccine donation is a meaningful and timely support for Viet Nam ,” Ngoc said, as demand for US vaccines is very high at the moment while the US Government is also carrying out donation programs to 50 countries and regions in the world.

The US so far only provides aid in a bilateral framework with a few countries in Central America, due to complex regulations and coordination, according to the ambassador.

The support the US gives to each country and region is mostly delivered through COVAX mechanism, after US authorities like the State Department or the National Security Council determines the quota of donation for each partner.

The US considers vaccines part of their national security, therefore it is strictly managed from production to distribution inside the country as well as matters of donation or supply to other countries.

The Viet Nam ese embassy has mobileized many sources of supply, including sources from different states and localities, charities, associations, brokerage companies, and individuals in the US but so far, none have brought results, as these entities cannot enter deals with foreign partners, even if they have surplus stock.

“All supply deals must go through the US State Department,” Ngoc stressed.

Vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or other developers of vaccines in phase 2 or 3 clinical trials, only sign deals with central government-level entities or COVAX mechanism, and not with private company or any middleman at the moment.

“If entities in Viet Nam are contacting sources in the US for vaccine supplies please be aware of this [policy], so as not to waste time and resources,” the Viet Nam ese diplomat stressed.

For medical supplies or medicines, the Viet Nam ese ambassador is working with US business community and the Viet Nam ese community in the US to support its efforts to access to multiple suppliers.

“The US is urgently discussing with Viet Nam ese partners to complete procedures to soon ship CUE COVID-19 rapid test kits and 75 vaccine cold storage devices to Viet Nam ,” the ambassador said.

Source: VNS