Quick vaccination key to ensuring smooth supply chain

By Duc Minh, Anh Minh   August 10, 2021 | 12:19 am PT
Quick vaccination key to ensuring smooth supply chain
A VinMart supermarket is closed on August 2, 2021 due to Covid-19 linkage. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Anh.
The delay in vaccinating workers in the retail and logistics sectors is causing disruptions in the supply chain, a key player in the Covid-19 fight.

Earlier this month, nearly 40 VinMart and VinMart+ outlets had been closed for several days due to Covid-19 linkage, which urged its operator Masan to once again request the government to quickly vaccinate retail staff.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade had in June also called for these employees to be vaccinated early as they come into direct contact with millions of customers every day and are at high risk of contagion.

However, VnExpress data shows only the minority of retail workers have been inoculated.

In retail chain BRG Mart, 30 percent of staff have received their first dose. The ratio for conglomerate Masan is 16 percent, Bach Hoa Xanh (operated by Mobile World) 21 percent, MM Mega Market over 30 percent, and Co.opmart Hanoi 30 percent.

Nguyen Thi Kim Dung, CEO of Co.opmart Hanoi, of which one supermarket was closed for three days due to Covid-19 linkage, said social distancing alone is not enough to reduce the risks for retail workers.

"The earlier these employees are vaccinated the sooner customers are protected."

Dung said Co.opmart had made the request to different government bodies but all had stated vaccines were not available.

Retail workers, however, are only part of the supply chain.

Le Duy Binh, CEO of market research company Economica Vietnam, said drivers, shippers and customs officers also need to be prioritized as they serve in the frontline of the economy and deliver essential goods.

Although government officials have demanded shippers be prioritized for vaccination, experts say the process needs to be sped up amid a surging number of Covid-19 cases.

Economist Phung Duc Tung said vaccines are being distributed mostly to localities, when instead it should be distributed to sectors to ensure the flow of essential goods.

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