We're in it together: PM calls for open access to Covid-19 vaccines

By Viet Anh   May 20, 2021 | 04:40 am PT
We're in it together: PM calls for open access to Covid-19 vaccines
Containers of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine are delivered to Hanoi via the Covax facility, May 16, 2021. Photo courtesy of UNICEF.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stressed Thursday that the Covid-19 pandemic was a global humanitarian issue wherein solutions have to be shared without undue barriers.

With the current emergency caused by the pandemic, vaccine production and distribution is no longer the business of a company or a country, but one that concerns the health of the global community. In a highly integrated world, no country can guarantee safety as long as Covid-19 still exists in other, he said.

Therefore, the top priority should be securing vaccine supplies, equal and timely access, reducing barriers of patent protections and speeding up technology transfer in an open, practical, effective, and fair manner, he said.

"At the same time, countries could consider setting up new cooperation mechanisms or promote existing ones in the region to cope with the pandemic and other infectious diseases in the future, such as establishment of ASEAN's Center for medical emergencies and emerging pandemics.

"Vietnam wishes for continued assistance from partners in containing Covid-19, especially in research, production, and equal access to vaccines," Chinh said at the 26th International Conference on the Future of Asia, a virtual event, hosted by Nikkei Inc. Japan.

The conference was themed "Shaping the post-COVID era: Asia’s role in the global recovery."

Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh attends the 26th International Conference on the Future of Asia. Photo courtesy of Vietnams Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh attends the 26th International Conference on the Future of Asia. Photo courtesy of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the PM’s speech released by Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he said Vietnam was willing to share with other countries its experiences in containing Covid-19.

The Vietnamese leader made five other recommendations at the conference.

He said Asian nations should develop high quality strategic infrastructure as an effective measure to stimulate economic growth in the short term and create strategic breakthroughs in the long term. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has estimated that Asia will need at least $1,700 billion for infrastructure building each year until 2030. Vietnam, therefore, welcomes initiatives for high quality strategic infrastructure proposed by the Japanese government and other partners, Chinh said.

He also said that nations should adopt new approaches to mobilizing capital, encouraging investment forms like the public-private-partnership (PPP).

The Vietnamese PM suggested that countries need to promote multilateral and bilateral cooperation, integration and economic links in a fair and effective manner to ensure the flow of trade, investment and global supply chains.

All countries should take note that a prerequisite condition for post Covid-19 recovery and prosperity is ensuring an international environment of peace, stability, cooperation and development, the PM said.

He referred in particular to the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea), saying countries need to solve disputes and differences with peaceful solutions that uphold international law, especially the United Nations' Charter and the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Concerned nations must promote multilateral cooperation mechanisms, fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), closely coordinate with each other in negotiating a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC); and maintain peace, cooperation, development in the region as well as freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, he said.

"Vietnam participates with responsibility and is ready to cooperate with partners to contribute to peace, stability, development and solidarity for common benefit and prosperous development of the region," he added.

Outlining Vietnam's future direction, Chinh said that in the next decade, the country will focus on implementing three strategic breakthroughs: institutional improvement, upgrading human resources, and fostering systematic infrastructure.

"We will give special priority to digital economy, green economy, circular economy and climate change adaptation," he said.

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