The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden on behalf of 1,000 businesses to urge the donation of more COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries, including Vietnam.
In the letter, Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the AAFA, stressed that the success of the U.S. apparel and footwear industry and three million American workers is directly dependent on suppliers with healthy workforces around the world.
“Vietnam is the second-largest supplier of apparel, footwear, and travel goods to the U.S. market, accounting for 20 percent of all U.S. imports, a number that grows every year, even during the pandemic,” Lamar stated.
He urged President Biden to dramatically ramp up distribution of vaccines, including America’s stockpile of Astra Zeneca vaccines, as well as testing supplies and personal protective equipment to Vietnam.
Immediate and dramatic actions by the U.S. will not only save millions of lives worldwide but could also save America’s economic recovery, the AAFE resident remarked.
The AAFA previously sent another letter to the White House on June 9 to applaud the latter’s efforts to distribute vaccines to countries and key partners around the world.
In a letter to Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Tuesday, Lamar urged the government to prioritize the distribution of vaccines to Vietnam’s apparel, footwear, and travel goods industries.
The government should also work with the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) and Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (LEFASO) to develop and implement protocols for businesses and workers in these industries to safely produce and transport goods, he added.
The AAFA representing more than 1,000 world famous brand names in apparel, footwear, and other sewn products, including Gap, Adidas, and Nike.
The U.S. has so far provided Vietnam with five million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine via the COVAX Facility.
The White House and American diplomats stressed that the vaccine shots represent humanitarian assistance from the U.S. for the Southeast Asian country.
Vietnam set a target of immunizing two-thirds of a population of nearly 98 million people against COVID-19 by the first quarter of next year.
The nation has received about 15 million vaccine shots from various sources, with more than 5.5 million doses having been administered.