First shipment of 811,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses supported by COVAX Facility arrives in Viet Nam
Ha Noi, 1st April 2021 - Today, Viet Nam received its first shipment of 811,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped via the COVAX Facility, with support from UNICEF, WHO, GAVI and CEPI. An additional shipment of 3,364,800 doses is expected by the end of May, followed by more later in the year.
If the world is to stem the spread of COVID 19 and urgently stop further dangerous variants from occurring, effective vaccines must reach 75% of the world’s population. Beyond being an ambitious and essential goal that will allow economies to open and flourish – it is also an incredible moment in history, where the biggest and most complex vaccination campaign ever attempted is underway. Globally, more than 32 million doses of COVAX supplied vaccines have been delivered to 63 countries in just one month.
Essential to the success of the campaign is vaccine equity, meaning every country and every person, including those hardest to reach, should benefit. To enable global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially to priority groups, the COVAX Facility, made up of GAVI, CEPI, WHO and UNICEF – was formed. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.
While the arrival of vaccines through the COVAX Facility is welcome news, it will still be some time before a large proportion of the adult population is vaccinated. In the meantime, it is essential that people continue to follow government advice to wear masks, wash hands regularly and maintain physical distance to reduce the risk of transmission.
At the handover event at the National Vaccine Storage Facility in Hanoi, the following governments were recognized and thanked for their generous financial contribution to the COVAX Facility for the provision and distribution of vaccines to 92 lower and middle income countries, free of charge.
Governments contributing in the spirit of vaccine equity are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States. In addition, several private sector companies / foundations have made contributions including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Thristledown Foundation, Mastercard, TikTok, Shell, as well as individuals.
On the ground in each country, WHO and UNICEF are actively supporting country health systems to plan and deploy, train health workers, improve their cold chain capacity, conduct monitoring, and raise public awareness and information on why vaccination is so important.
“WHO joins the Government of Viet Nam and our partners in welcoming this milestone in the pandemic response” says Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Viet Nam. “This achievement is a testament to global solidarity and what we can achieve together when many countries and partners work in unity to deliver a critical public health good. I commend Viet Nam for the incredible work to facilitate the arrival of these vaccines from COVAX.”
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of all the government counterparts involved, both from the health and non-health sectors. I have seen how much you prepared for the arrival of these vaccines, from identifying priority groups, training health staff, facilitating delivery systems to reach the provinces and keeping the public informed. The arrival of the vaccines means that more frontline workers and high-risk populations can be vaccinated and protected. WHO will continue to work alongside our counterparts to make sure these vaccines benefit whose who need them the most.”
Led by UNICEF, the procurement and delivery of this supply of the vaccines through the COVAX Facility underpins Vietnamese Government’s Resolution 21/NQ-CP dated 26/02/2021 on purchasing and using of COVID-19 vaccines and will provide critical vaccination support for 20 per cent of the population.
UNICEF Representative Rana Flowers, in thanking all the countries who have generously supported COVAX said: “this is a historical and highly complex effort– the likes of which none of us have experienced before. UNICEF is bringing to this global effort every ounce of the experience gained in saving millions of lives through the safe delivery of vaccines.”
“Our work with the Ministry of Health here in Viet Nam, includes support with planning, training, and communication, as well as the procurement and delivery of additional syringes, safe boxes and fridges. Only with vaccine rollout to every corner of Viet Nam can life and the economy start to return to normal, can we ensure children have uninterrupted access to schools, health care and protection services. What a great moment for us all to join hands in support of the people of Viet Nam,” added Ms. Flowers.
The vaccine procured for Viet Nam is developed jointly by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and is manufactured under licence by SK Bioscience in South Korea. The AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine has received the Emergency Use Authorization from WHO and is already used in Viet Nam.
For several months, COVAX partners, particularly WHO and UNICEF have been supporting the Government of Viet Nam in readiness efforts and the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. They have been especially active in developing a National Vaccination Plan, as Viet Nam is benefiting from the Advance Market Commitment (AMC). The AMC is an innovative financial mechanism to help secure global and equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines.
In order for Viet Nam to receive doses through the COVAX Facility, several critical pieces had to be in place, including confirmation of national regulatory authorisation criteria related to the vaccines delivered, indemnification agreements, national vaccination plans, as well as other logistical factors such as export and import licenses.
Notes to Editors
Full COVAX News Note to Editors: https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax/covax-news-note-to-editors
List of donor pledges to the Gavi COVAX AMC: https://www.gavi.org/sites/default/files/covid/covax/COVAX-AMC-Donors-Table.pdf
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about COVID-19, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam/covid-19
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam