Australia Covid support for Vietnam to cover vaccine storage, supply

By Viet Anh   April 19, 2021 | 12:34 am PT
The AstraZeneca vaccines made in Australia can be delivered to Vietnam apart from cold storage and other support, says Australian ambassador Robyn Mudie.

"Australia will be exploring options to procure vaccines which we can support Vietnam with. Some of those vaccines in due course are likely to be manufactured in Australia," Mudie said at a Hanoi press conference Monday.

Responding to VnExpress International on any bilateral sharing of the Covid-19 vaccine, she said that while Australia has been manufacturing AstraZeneca vaccines in the country, the current focus is on supporting Vietnam to procure vaccines from safe and reliable sources.

Over time, Australia expects some of the homemade vaccines will be part of the country's contribution to Vietnam, she added.

At the beginning of the conference, Mudie and Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam, announced an A$13.5 million ($10.5 million) package to support Covid-19 vaccine delivery in Vietnam.

Mudie said the support will help Vietnam purchase cold chain equipment to store and transport vaccine doses to where they are needed around the country. It would also fund training courses and materials to ensure Vietnam's health workers and officials are ready, and assist with the development of immunization plans in Vietnam's remote provinces to ensure equitable and uniform vaccine coverage.

An aircraft carrying 811,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine doses lands at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, April 1, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Phan Cong.

An aircraft carrying 811,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine doses delivered via global scheme Covax lands at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, April 1, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Phan Cong.

Flowers said introducing a new vaccine, especially for Covid-19, was a colossal task for any government with many important steps involved.

"No one is safe until everyone is safe, so mass vaccination against Covid-19 is an important step to contain the pandemic, protect frontline workers who serve children and for Vietnam to reopen to the rest of the world."

The program will support Vietnam to vaccinate the prioritized 20 percent of population by the end of 2022 and set the foundation necessary for immunizing the remainder of the population as vaccines are rolled out nationwide. Funding for the program is drawn from Australia’s A$523.2 million ($404 million) regional Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative, as well as from Australia’s bilateral development cooperation program with Vietnam.

In total, Australia has committed A$40 million ($31 million) over three years to support Vietnam’s vaccine procurement and delivery efforts.

Ambassador Mudie noted that in addition to the partnership with UNICEF, Australia was exploring options to procure vaccines through the global market to distribute to Vietnam and other partners in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In the coming months, Australia will liaise with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health to plan how the country can best complement Vietnam’s vaccination roll-out, she said.

"Australia is determined to work closely with Vietnam over the coming years on the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and will continue to support Vietnam’s recovery from the pandemic," she added.

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