Home Covid-19 Vietnam Shops for Vaccines in Hopes of Avoiding More Lockdowns

Vietnam Shops for Vaccines in Hopes of Avoiding More Lockdowns

HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM – Vietnam’s government is on a global vaccine shopping spree in hopes it can stem a surge of COVID-19 infections without resorting to more lockdowns like those that have already set back the economy and angered an increasingly frustrated public. 

Like many of its East Asia neighbors, Vietnam is experiencing some of its highest infection rates since the pandemic began early last year, registering more than 2,000 new cases in a day for the first time earlier this week. It recorded 2,383 new cases on July 12, the fifth consecutive day of record highs. 

However, public patience is wearing thin with the sort of restrictions that helped to keep three earlier waves of infections in check. After almost 50 days of lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City, even those who once supported the government unconditionally began to question the way Vietnam has been fighting the pandemic. 

FILE – A woman sells food next to a banner reading “prevent the spread of COVID-19, take away only, please keep your distance 2 meters” amid the coronavirus outbreak in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 31, 2021.

Some are also questioning whether an all-out battle against the virus is necessary, given that Vietnam is reporting far lower mortality rates from COVID-19 than many countries with more advanced health care systems. The nation’s official figures show only 130 deaths from more than 30,000 cases — a mortality rate of 0.4% compared to 1.8% in the United States. 

Previous lockdowns have taken a toll on the economy. Vietnam’s General Statistics Office this month reported that 12.8 million people aged 15 or older were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during the April-June period of this year. 

Of those, 557,000 people lost their jobs, 4.1 million people had to temporarily suspend their business, 4.3 million people had their working hours cut or had to take time off or rotate work, and 8.5 million workers had their income reduced. 

That has the nation’s leaders in Hanoi placing their hopes in a stepped-up campaign to vaccinate more than 70% of the population by the end of March 2022. According to Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long, the campaign will kick off this month with approximately 8.7 million vaccine doses to be administered in 18,000 vaccination centers. 

That will be an ambitious undertaking, requiring an estimated 150 million vaccine doses over the next nine months. So far, Vietnam has injected not quite 4 million doses since it received its first batch of vaccines in April through COVAX, the U.N.-backed body working to get vaccines to less developed countries. 

The Ministry of Health says 9 million doses have been received altogether since February, including the products of U.S., Russian, Chinese and British pharmaceutical companies. 

The effort got a boost on July 10, when Vietnam received 2 million doses of the U.S.-made Moderna vaccine through the COVAX facility. The shipment is part of the 80 million doses vaccine that U.S. President Joe Biden has committed to share globally. 

FILE – Health workers wait to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at Hai Duong Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hai Duong province, Vietnam, March 8, 2021.

The foreign ministry announced this week it is also in talks with Russia and India to purchase 40 million Sputnik V and 15 million Covaxin doses, respectively. Altogether, it says, it has secured commitments to provide more than 120 million doses. 

Vietnam’s leaders are also intent on developing the country’s own vaccine. Nanogen’s Nanocovax vaccine, backed by Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, is about to finish trials and is expected to be available beginning in August. 

An important consideration is the government’s desire to avoid the “vaccine diplomacy” of China, which has been accused of using its largess with vaccines to pressure Southeast Asia countries for favorable policies on other security issues. 

Another worry is that some citizens will turn down certain vaccines in hopes of being injected with one that is considered to be more effective against the virus. A wave of social media posts has emerged criticizing people who want to choose vaccines on their own. 
 

Most Popular

Los Angeles DA George Gascon defends record on crime: ‘I know how to keep communities safe’

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! Progressive Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon defended his record against critics who have accused...

Biden signs landmark gun legislation: ‘God willing, it’s going to save a lot of lives’

President Joe Biden signed into law the most sweeping legislation aimed at preventing gun violence in 30 years at the White House on Saturday shortly before...

Pfizer Says Tweaked COVID-19 Shots Boost Omicron Protection

NEW YORK —  Pfizer announced Saturday that tweaking its COVID-19 vaccine to better target the omicron variant is safe and works — just days before...

Thomas wants the Supreme Court to overturn landmark rulings that legalized contraception, same-sex marriage

The Supreme Court must revisit and overrule past landmark decisions that legalized the right to obtain contraception, the right to same-sex intimacy and the...