Covid-19 vaccine fund raises $329 mln

By Viet Tuan, Hoang Thuy   June 5, 2021 | 06:44 pm PT
Covid-19 vaccine fund raises $329 mln
A medical specialist holds a vial of the Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus in a department store in Moscow, Russia, January 18, 2021. Photo by Reuters.
The national Covid-19 vaccine fund has received contributions and donation pledges of over VND7.6 trillion ($329 million) from businesses and other donors since it was established near two weeks ago.

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, the fund, managed by the Ministry of Finance, had collected VND1.03 trillion ($44.6 million). Several major companies have pledged around VND6.6 trillion ($285 million), finance minister Ho Duc Phoc said at the launching ceremony of the vaccine fund in Hanoi Saturday night.

The business community had joined hands with the government earlier in efforts to purchase Covid-19 vaccines.

Among the donors are state-run companies including telecommunication service provider Viettel, oil giant Petrovietnam, state utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) and leading private groups like Vietnam's largest private conglomerate, Vingroup, and golf investor Long Thanh Golf Investment and Trading Joint Stock Company.

Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said the fund aims to help Vietnam cope with the pandemic in the long run as people need to be vaccinated every year.

The fund will be used for buying Covid-19 vaccines from abroad and for supporting the production of made-in-Vietnam vaccines towards fulfilling the target of inoculating 70 percent of Vietnam’s 98-million population.

Phoc said Vietnam aims to secure 150 million doses of vaccines to immunize 75 million of its population this year, and the cost is estimated at VND25.2 trillion.

The government is expected to provide VND16 trillion and localities nationwide as well as private sources will make up the rest.

Vietnam began a Covid-19 vaccination program on March 8 using the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine that was procured through commercial contracts and via the Covax facility.

So far, over 1.2 million people have been vaccinated, mainly frontline workers in the Covid-19 fight, including medics at local hospitals. Of these, more than 33,000 have received the prescribed two doses.

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