Factory workers added to Covid vaccine priority list

By Viet Tuan   May 25, 2021 | 08:42 pm PT
Factory workers added to Covid vaccine priority list
Workers wait to have their samples taken for coronavirus tests at Quang Chau Industrial Park in Bac Giang Province, May 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong.
Workers employed in industrial parks have been added to the priority list for Covid-19 vaccination.

The Government Office announced Tuesday the focus is now on large production facilities with a large number of workers.

The list earlier comprised frontline medical workers, other medical staff, soldiers, police officers, teachers, diplomatic personnel, customs and immigration officers, those working in essential services like transport, people aged 65 and above, poor people, those with chronic diseases, people seeking to study or work abroad, and those living in pandemic-hit areas.

Earlier the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association and the Vietnam Association for Supporting Industries (VASI) had written to the government asking for industrial workers to be vaccinated quickly since they are vulnerable but crucial to supply chains.

Supporting industry companies are willing to pay for this, it said.

A month into the fourth wave, Vietnam has logged 2,873 domestic cases in 30 cities and provinces, with neighboring Bac Giang and Bac Ninh provinces in the north reporting the highest rates.

Factory workers in the two provinces in fact account for almost 70 percent of all cases nationwide.

The government aims to secure 150 million doses of vaccines to immunize 75 percent of the population this year, and the Ministry of Health estimates the program will cost around VND25.2 trillion ($1 billion), VND21 trillion for the vaccines and the rest for their transportation, storage and distribution and organizing vaccination.

Vietnam, which is currently using the vaccine produced by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca for its immunization program, has received nearly 2.9 million doses, 464,000 through commercial contracts and the rest through Covax, and vaccinated over a million people so far.

The ministry has deals to buy 30 million doses and obtain 38.9 million doses through Covax. It has also registered to buy 10 million additional doses through Covax under a cost-sharing scheme to benefit from lower prices.

Besides, it has inked a deal for 31 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine this year.

Domestically, four vaccines are under development by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC), Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 (Vabiotech), and Polyvac.

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