Latest drastic moves in Vietnam’s vaccine diplomacy strategy
Through vaccine diplomacy, Vietnam has so far received millions of vaccine doses from the support of the international community.
Last week, vaccine diplomacy was more active than ever as the Government established a working group on vaccine diplomacy and the Prime Minister sent a letter to EU leaders and talked on the phone with the leaders of AstraZeneca and Pfizer - the two leading vaccine producers in the world.
These activities show the very high determination and serious involvement of the Government to seek sources of vaccine supply as as soon as possible.
The important "front"
The working group on vaccine diplomacy meets for the first time.
Vietnam is experiencing the fourth outbreak of Covid-19, the strongest since this virus appeared in Vietnam on January 23, 2020. The number of new infection cases reported on August 20 and 22 exceeded 11,000 per day.
In the Vietnamese government's relentless efforts to control the epidemic, vaccine diplomacy has become a key point, not only in accessing and importing vaccines but also in opening up opportunities for technology transfer and local production of vaccines, creating the most sustainable vaccine supply for Vietnam in the short and long term.
Vaccine diplomacy is essentially taking advantage of bilateral and multilateral relationships through international organizations, countries and corporations to increase Vietnam’s access to Covid-19 vaccines.
On August 13, the Government established a working group on vaccine diplomacy led by Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son. The group members are high-ranking officials from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, National Defense, Public Security, Industry and Trade, Science - Technology and the Government Office. Three days later, the working group had its first meeting to evaluate and review the initial results and future tasks.
Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son told the media that in the current situation, vaccine diplomacy is a very important "front". The working group now focuses on mobilizing international partners and organizations to continue providing vaccine aid, and promoting cooperation in production and technology transfer of vaccines, drugs and medical products for Vietnam as soon as possible. It also exerts efforts to find, connect and urge foreign partners in negotiating, importing and receiving vaccines, drugs and medical products.
According to Mr. Son, through vaccine diplomacy, Vietnam has so far received millions of vaccine doses from the support of the international community. This not only directly serves epidemic prevention, but also has very significant internal, external, political, national defense, security and socio-economic aspects.
Using all diplomatic channels, with relentless effort and determination
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh talked on the phone with AstraZeneca Group's General Director Pascal Soriot on August 19.
To implement the vaccine strategy, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held phone talks with the Prime Ministers of 16 countries; sent letters and telegrams to leaders of 22 countries and 10 international organizations to promote "vaccine diplomacy", achieving a number of important results.
On August 18, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent a letter to the President of the European Council Charles Michel, and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh sent a letter to Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, asking the EU to provide vaccines to Vietnam.
On August 12, French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter that to win the battle against the epidemic, access to vaccines must be universal and equal. This is why France has shared 670,000 doses of vaccine with Vietnam, as part of the COVAX program.
The Polish government on August 17 decided to give over 501,000 doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine and essential medical equipment worth US$4 million to Vietnam. Poland is also willing to cede 3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Vietnam. Vietnam is the first non-European country that Poland has provided vaccine and medical equipment aid.
On August 19 and 20, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh talked on the phone with AstraZeneca Group's General Director Pascal Soriot and Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla – the two leading producers of Covid-19 vaccines in the world.
The Prime Minister suggested that AstraZeneca and Pfizer speed up the delivery of vaccines to Vietnam. Leaders of the two corporations pledged to make every effort, find all options to speed up the delivery of vaccines to Vietnam, and support Vietnam in receiving transfers and other forms of vaccine delivery from countries in the future.
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.
Thanks to “vaccine diplomacy”, Vietnam has received more than 15 million doses of covid-19 vaccine, with more than 12 million doses allocated to epidemic-hit localities in July alone.