US apparel companies seek speedy vaccination of Vietnamese workers

By Dat Nguyen   July 28, 2021 | 04:41 am PT
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has requested the U.S. and Vietnam governments to speed up distribution of vaccines to major suppliers of Adidas, Gap and other brands.

"We urge you to dramatically ramp up distribution of vaccines, including America’s stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccines, to countries like Vietnam now," Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the association, said in a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden.

Immediate and dramatic action by the U.S. will not only save millions of lives worldwide but could also promote America’s economic recovery, he added.

Vietnam is the second largest supplier of apparel, footwear and travel goods to the U.S., accounting for 20 percent of all U.S. imports, he said.

"This is why the success of the U.S. apparel and footwear industry, and our three million American workers, is directly dependent on our suppliers around the world, including those in Vietnam, having healthy workforces," he wrote.

In a separate letter to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Lamar urged that the Vietnamese government takes "several key emergency actions to help control the spread of Covid-19, particularly in the south, to thwart a growing humanitarian crisis."

The U.S. has already provided five million doses, but the association is advocating that the government supplies more on an urgent basis, he said.

Vietnam, particularly southern localities, is experiencing a severe Covid-19 wave that has recorded over 116,900 infections since the end of April, in which Ho Chi Minh City accounts for 66 percent.

Major suppliers for global brands like Adidas and Nike in the country have shut down operations or operating at limited capacity under strict social distancing orders.

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