|Nearly 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been donated by France and Italy to Vietnam today|
"With this donation, France is demonstrating its solidarity with Vietnam through these difficult times: we stand together with the people of Vietnam, as the country is facing a severe epidemic wave, by supporting vaccination efforts launched by the authorities," said French Ambassador Nicolas Warnery. “This support is in line with the longstanding and successful cooperation between France and Vietnam in the medical field."
Ambassador Warnery added, “vaccination is the only way out of this crisis. That is why France is committed to share 60 million doses in 2021, in addition to its financial contributions to the COVAX programme, in order to accelerate vaccination efforts worldwide. More broadly, France has been a major supporter to the ACT-A initiative which provides universal access to tests and treatments to fight COVID 19."
"In the spirit of the strategic partnership and sincere friendship that links Italy and Vietnam," said Italian Ambassador Antonio Alessandro, "Italy stands close to the Vietnamese government and people in the fight against COVID-19."
"Since the beginning of the pandemic", he added, "Italy has been among the first countries to support the importance of equal and universal access to vaccines, treatments, and tests for COVID-19, based on the principle of international solidarity according to which no one will be safe until everyone is safe. For these reasons, Italy supported the creation of ACT-Accelerator and the Global COVAX Facility, of which it is one of its largest financial donors. Furthermore, on the occasion of the Global Health Summit promoted by the Italian G20 Presidency, Italy committed to donate 15 million doses to low- and middle-income countries, starting from those most in need, including Vietnam."
French and Italian contributions add to the #TeamEurope (European Union and its Member States) support to help Vietnam fight the pandemic: #TeamEurope is the second-biggest donor to COVAX, with $2.8 billion. An EU budget support grant of €19 million ($22.45 million) was transferred in 2020 to the State Treasury of Vietnam to provide additional fiscal space to implement relief policies. Many other EU and bilateral programmes, including from Italy and France, are dedicated to support public health and medical research and innovation in Vietnam.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung expressed his appreciation for the donations of the governments of France and Italy as well as for the support of COVAX in ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan highlighted that Vietnam would quickly distribute the donated vaccines and ensure that the vaccines would be used effectively.
Vietnam is experiencing the largest and most severe COVID-19 outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic. The government has been taking strong measures to control the spread of coronavirus, including speeding up vaccination for its population, especially those living in the epicentres.
"We are grateful to the governments and peoples of France and Italy for sending additional doses of vaccine through the COVAX Facility," said Dr. Kidong Park, United Nations resident coordinator ad interim and the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Vietnam. "As we get more vaccines for the country, it is critical for the government to provide vaccines strategically to the people who need it the most, based on priorities. This means protecting healthcare workers and frontline workers, the elderly, people with co-morbidities, and those who are at highest risk of severe diseases or deaths."
"UNICEF welcomes the donations of COVID-19 vaccines by the governments of France and Italy through the COVAX dose-sharing mechanism, which allows well-supplied countries to share vaccine doses with other countries to help protect the most at-risk populations globally,” said Lesley Miller, UNICEF deputy representative. "Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines represents the clearest pathway out of this pandemic for all of us – children included – and these donations are an important step in this direction."
With the delivery of vaccines donated by the governments of France and Italy, Vietnam has received over 11.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines via the COVAX Facility. The COVAX Facility is co-led by the WHO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI), GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance, and UNICEF as a key delivery partner.
To date, over 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Vietnam, among them over 5.5 million second doses. The additional vaccines will help the Ministry of Health to expand coverage and reach more people from priority groups, including the elderly and those with underlying conditions, contributing to attaining the country's target of vaccinating more than 70 per cent of the population by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
By Bich Thuy
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