Vietnam seeks World Bank aid for Covid-19 vaccine development

By Le Nga   June 29, 2021 | 04:09 pm PT
Vietnam seeks World Bank aid for Covid-19 vaccine development
A woman is injected with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the Phu Tho Stadium in HCMC's District 11, June 24, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Vietnam suggested Tuesday that the World Bank supports the nation’s Covid-19 vaccine development and vaccination program with grants and loans.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long made the suggestion at a meeting with Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, and Carolyn Turk, the World Bank Country Director for Vietnam.

While Vietnam is one of 39 countries with a National Regulatory Authority (NRA) on vaccine regulation that meets WHO standards as also one of 44 countries capable of producing vaccines, there has been little investment for such a field, Long said.

He said a WB loan would help Vietnam build a research and development center for vaccines and other medical products, as well as a vaccine production facility for its national vaccination program and to fight future pandemics.

Kwakwa said Long's proposal was an important one, adding that coordination and cooperation between ministries and other relevant authorities was necessary to quickly mobilize funds for WB projects in Vietnam that have yet to be used up.

Other fund and loan sources should be utilized as well to quickly design such a project for Vietnam's medical field, she said.

On Covid-19 vaccine supplies for Vietnam, Kwakwa said it would depend on the capacity of vaccine manufacturers to deliver the vaccines, adding that the U.S. government already has plans to give out Pfizer vaccine doses to certain countries, including Vietnam.

Vietnam has so far administered nearly 3.5 million shots of the vaccine produced by the British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, fully vaccinating nearly 173,000 people with two shots.

The country seeks to secure 150 million vaccine doses this year to cover 70 percent of its population.

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