The Ministry of Health must consult government members on solutions for securing Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine procurement, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stated on Monday.
The premier’s statement was mentioned in the Government Office's report on a meeting on COVID-19 vaccine procurement on Monday.
According to Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, Pfizer Inc. has refused to negotiate on price and contract terms while also inquiring Vietnamese representatives to respond by no later than Tuesday.
As per the opinions of government members, the prime minister concluded that the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines is essential, thus requiring the Ministry of Health to take charge of selecting the right variety and report on the current price negotiation.
Prime Minister Chinh pointed out that vaccine scarcity is seen on a global scale, hence the sourcing of the jabs should be considered an urgent task by law and prioritized as such.
He ordered the Government Office to collaborate with the health, planning and investment, and justice ministries to collect opinions of government members, as well as preparing a draft resolution on the procurement of Pfizer vaccine.
Vietnam had administered more than 977,000 COVID-19 vaccine shots as of last weekend, according to the health ministry.
Those inoculated were medical staff and other frontline workers.
The Southeast Asian country received a batch of 1,682,400 COVID-19 vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility on Sunday, the second shipment since April.
This delivery came in addition to 811,200 doses arriving on April 1 and is part of the 4.1 million vaccine doses committed to Vietnam free of charge by the COVAX Facility, UNICEF said in a press release the same day.
COVAX is an international partnership created to ensure global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Partners and producers have pledged to supply 110 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam in 2021, with 31 million doses manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, the Ministry of Health said in a post on its verified Facebook account last week.
Vietnam has confirmed 1,425 domestic coronavirus infections in 28 provinces and cities since April 27, when the country was first hit by a fourth wave after having spent roughly a month detecting no community transmission.