COVID-19 vaccine coverage remains low in Vietnam

VOV.VN - In a report submitted to the National Assembly on July 24, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long admitted that Vietnam’s vaccine rollout is slow and the national vaccination rate remains low at 5%.

According to Minister Long, approximately 10.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to Vietnam, of which 6.2 million doses have been distributed to localities for vaccinations. (Data updated by July 23).

The vaccines were sourced from AstraZeneca and Pfizer under commercial contracts, and from COVAX, Japan, China and Russia through sponsoring and donations.

Vietnam is set to receive an additional 6.8 million doses from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, the United States and the United Kingdom in July.

Minister Long attributed the slow vaccine rollout domestically to a desperate shortage of vaccines globally. Vietnam is one of the countries benefitting from the COVAX-sponsored vaccine programme, but priority is given to severely hit countries.

In addition, Vietnam has to accept conditions set by manufacturers in negotiations, such as no price negotiation, a possible delay in delivery, and exclusion of liability among others which are unprecedented in the country’s public procurement.

The minister also said Vietnam has reached agreements and contracts with foreign partners to secure 130 million doses in 2021 and is negotiating to get an additional 45 million doses from Moderna and Sputnik V manufacturers.

However, Long pointed to the fact that in the context of global vaccine scarcity, Vietnam is still encountering difficulty in vaccine supply domestically. More than 30 million doses are set to arrive in the third quarter and more to come in the fourth quarter.

Long anticipated that the situation would be improved in 2022 when more vaccines are approved globally and vaccine production lines are put into operation locally.

Meanwhile, the vaccination rate remains low across the country. The number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people rose to 5 as of July 24. About 4.07 million people have received the first shot, while nearly 335,000 people have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

The rate is rather low compared to about 40% recorded in Singapore, and 17% in Cambodia.

The Ministry of Health is ramping up vaccine rollouts and vaccinations in all localities, especially in coronavirus hotspots.  

The ministry aims to inoculate 70% of the population, or 75 million people, by early 2022 to achieve the herd immunity target.