Saigoneer

BackSociety » Health » Vietnam to Allocate $1.1bn to Buy 150m Doses of Covid-19 Vaccines This Year

Vietnam to Allocate $1.1bn to Buy 150m Doses of Covid-19 Vaccines This Year

Amidst current struggles to keep pace with global inoculation rates, Vietnam plans to secure enough doses of several vaccines to immunize 75% of the population by the end of the year. 

On Thursday, the Ministry of Finance announced plans to set up a VND25.2 trillion (US$1.1 billion) fund to secure 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to Reuters. The fund will pull VND16 trillion from the state budget while the rest will come from cities, provinces, and private sources. About VND21 trillion will be used to purchase the vaccines, while the rest will be for transporting, storing, and injecting doses.

As of now, Vietnam has secured agreements for 110 million doses for 2021. According to the plan, 31 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses will arrive in the third and fourth quarters. Covax, a World Health Organization initiative for low- and middle-income countries, will supply 38.9 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, while another 10 million doses will be obtained via a cost-sharing scheme with Covax. Last but not least, 30 million doses from AstraZeneca will arrive via a deal signed by the Vietnam Vaccine JSC.

So far the country has only received 2.5 million doses, all from the Covax program, and more than one million people have been vaccinated. No updates on Vietnam's domestic vaccines have been offered recently. It's estimated that it will take Vietnamese-made vaccines until 2022 to be ready for widespread inoculation.

The price of the US-based Pfizer vaccines has not been disclosed, but the Ministries of Health, Planning, and Investment and Justice claimed earlier this week that the company was not willing to negotiate the costs. 

As Vietnam lags behind other nations in vaccine administration, some question the nation's recalcitrance to seek out China's Sinopharm vaccine, which was recently approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). Experts cite general anti-Chinese sentiment amongst Vietnamese as a reason why the country is preferring to look to the west to secure the vaccines. 

[Photo via Ministry of Health]