Vietnam’s legislature has decided to earmark VND12.1 trillion, or nearly US$525 million, to purchase COVID-19 vaccines amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus in the country.
The funding will come from the savings and remaining funds of the central budget in 2020, according to a resolution just released by the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA).
In its resolution, the NA Standing Committee assigned the government to direct ministries, central agencies and local authorities to promptly procure COVID-19 vaccine sources to ensure safe and effective inoculation for all citizens.
As the COVID-19 epidemic is spreading quickly, this financial source is very important for the implementation of Vietnam’s vaccine strategy against COVID-19 under the guidance of the Politburo and the Secretariat, it stated.
Several days ago, relevant ministries and agencies gave green light to a plan to buy 31 million doses of the U.S.’s Pfizer vaccine in the second quarter of 2021.
The Ministry of Health said it has been speeding up negotiations to buy Pfizer vaccines to ensure the country has a total of 150 million vaccine doses this year.
According to the negotiation results of the Ministry of Health, Pfizer may provide Vietnam with about 31 million doses, a half of which will be delivered in the third quarter and the remainder in the rest time of this year.
The ministry has also decided to allocate the UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine jabs, shipped recently to Vietnam via the COVAX Facility, for the third phase of the national vaccination program.
Accordingly, provinces and cities across the country will receive a total of 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, police forces will receive 50,000 doses and military forces will get 89,000 doses.
The ministry requested the National Expanded Immunization Project, run by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, to receive, preserve, and send samples for quality accreditation of the supplied vaccines before transporting them its regional branches for timely distribution.
People who have had the first vaccination will receive the second shot eight to 12 weeks after that, the ministry advised.
All localities or units that receive the allocated vaccines must promptly carry out the immunization and complete it before August 15, the ministry requested.
If the allocated vaccines are not used up, they will be used to inoculate people in other priority groups through the coordination with the National Expanded Immunization Project.
The ministry on Saturday noon confirmed 52 local COVID-19 cases, which has taken the country’s tally to 5,013 patients, including 2,689 recoveries and 41 virus-related deaths.