Up to early June 2021, Vietnam has experienced four large-scale outbreaks of Covid-19. Compared to the previous three ones, the 4th outbreak was assessed to be the largest in scale, more complicated and more difficult to be controlled due to the appearance of new strains of virus. In addition to such epidemic preventing and controlling measures that have been applied during the previous three outbreaks as Wearing masks, Disinfecting, Medical Declarating, Keeping distance, and No gathering, the Government of Vietnam has recently come up with a new solution; that is the establishment of the Vaccine Fund. This new measure is evaluated as an initiative of the Government of Vietnam to mobilize the participation and contributions of many individuals and organizations domestically and abroad to give opportunities for about 75% of the population who will be protected by vaccine in 2021.
Up to now, Vietnam has experienced 4 outbreaks of Covid-19 epidemic
On January 22nd, 2020, the first case of Covid-19 that was from Wuhan-China was found in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. According to the division of the Ministry of Health, Vietnam is currently in the 4th outbreak.
The first outbreak lasted 85 days (from January 23rd, 2020 to April 16th, 2020) and had the least number of cases with 100 cases in the community. During this period, the disease spread to 13 provinces and cities of Vietnam with no deaths.
The second outbreak lasted 129 days (from July 25th, 2020 to December 1st, 2020) but peaked in 36 days (from July 25th, 2020 to August 29th, 2020), recording up to 554 cases in the community, 5.5 times more than the number of cases in the first epidemic, with 35 deaths.
The third outbreak lasted 57 days (from January 28th, 2021 to March 25th, 2021), which broke out in Hai Duong from a labor exporter who was found to be positive when entering Japan. This outbreak recorded up to 910 patients with Covid-19 in the community, nearly twice as much as the second epidemic, with no deaths.
The fourth outbreak in Vietnam began on April 27th, 2021 with the case of a hotel staff member in Yen Bai, where the Indian experts were isolated. After that, more cases were continuously found in many provinces and cities of Vietnam, especially in Central Hospital II in Hanoi, Tropical Hospital II, Oncology Hospital III… These cases had a rapid spread in the community, causing the number of infected people to constantly increase.
According to statistics of the Ministry of Health, as of 6pm on June 26, 2021, Vietnam has a total of 13,515 domestic cases of covid-19 and 1,760 imported cases. The total number of deaths due to Covid-19 is 77 cases. The number of new cases from the first day of the fourth outbreak up to now is 11,945 cases. This number accounts for more than 80% of the total number of patients in Vietnam since the outbreak until now, 8 times higher than the 2nd outbreak and 7 times higher than the 3rd one, spreading to 40 provinces and cities of Vietnam with a complicated level and difficulty in control.
Three previous outbreaks of the disease in Vietnam mainly originated from immigration sources and residential areas, the fourth outbreak is considered to be more dangerous because of multiple outbreaks and sources of infection. Among those outbreaks, along with the previous infections in residential areas, there are also infections in some hospitals, some industrial zones, and some religious organizations. Up to mid-June 2021, although the number of new cases per day is still high, the epidemic situation in areas mentioned above has basically been well controlled.
The biggest challenge in the fourth outbreak is that Vietnam has to face a multi-variant source of infection. Therefore, unlike the previous outbreaks when the patients suffered from severe symptoms are the elderly and those who have underlying diseases, in this epidemic, even many young people with no underlying diseases have severe symptoms. In particular, a patient who died from Covid-19 was only 22 years old.
To deal with the above situation, the Vietnamese Government has found many new solutions for epidemic prevention and control. One of the most urgent solutions given is to quickly progress the vaccination campaign for citizens to create community immunity. Vaccines are considered to be a solid shield to gradually push back the pandemic.
Vaccine Fund – an initiative for the Government and people of Vietnam to join hands and to overcome the Covid-19 epidemic
On May 26th, 2021, the Prime Minister of Vietnam signed a decision to establish Vietnam Fund for Vacination Prevention of Coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as VFVC. The purpose of the Fund is to receive, manage and use the monetary and vaccine funding, supporting and contributions from domestic and foreign organizations and individuals as well as other lawful capital sources in purchasing and importing vaccines, researching and producing vaccines domestically to protect Vietnamese citizens from Covid-19. This fund operates for non-profit purposes, uses capital for the right purposes and complies with the laws of Vietnam.
To ensure the transparence of the Fund, the Government of Vietnam has assigned responsibilities to the relevant units. The Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front is responsible for mobilizing contributing resources from organizations and individuals to the fund, and also supervises to ensure proper management and use of the fund purposefully, openly, transparently and effectively. The Ministry of Finance is assigned by the Government to manage the Fund. The Ministry of Health coordinating with the Ministry of Finance summarizes the demand of purchasing and importing vaccines, doing research and producing vaccines against the Covid-19 epidemic. Not only the financial and payment receipts are reported to the Government and the National Assembly, the mobilized amount, the list of sponsoring organizations and individuals, and the amount of money contributed as well as the expenses, the remaining balance if any are all publicized. The fund will be terminated and dissolved after the competent authority announces the completion of vaccination against Covid-19 for all people.
In order to mobilize a large number of citizens domestic and abroad to contribute to the Vaccine Fund, the Government of Vietnam has opened two ports of receiving the donation amount; that is to set up one bank account to receive domestic donations, another to receive donations from abroad, and to set up a form of direct reception via telephone switchboards. The Vaccine Fund is an essential initiative, demonstrating the Vietnamese Government’s high determination in early prevention of the Covid-19 epidemic so as to give back daily safe life routine to all citizens.
As soon as it was established, the Vaccine Fund quickly received the sympathy and support from a large number of Vietnamese people throughout the country and overseas. Just for a short time, the Fund has received great and enthusiastic support not only from agencies, units, enterprises, corporations… but also from all classes of people, including children, the elderly, the retired officials and many overseas Vietnamese. According to Vietnam Television Station, up to 19:00 of June 20, there were 325,145 organizations and individuals supporting the Vaccine Fund with a total amount of 5,777 billion VND. In the coming time, the amount of money contributed to the Vaccine Fund will continuously increase, creating favorable conditions for the Government of Vietnam in implementing a large-scale Covid-19 vaccination campaign for the people.
Evaluation of Vietnam’s Vaccine Fund
According to the Ministry of Health, to vaccinate 75% of the population, it is expected that Vietnam will need to buy 150 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine. The total cost is estimated at 25,200 billion VND, in which the cost of buying vaccines is about 21 trillion VND, the cost for transportation, preservation, distribution and organization of vaccination is about 4,200 billion VND. Currently, Vietnam is still a developing country. Covid-19 has caused great difficulties for the country’s economy. If the purchase of vaccines only relies on the State budget, the goal of 75% of the population vaccinated is really challenging, even impossible. Therefore, the establishment of the Vaccine Fund is a necessity and an effective initiative of Vietnam to mobilize the large contributions of all Vietnamese people.
Finding opportunities to access vaccines is the solution not only in Vietnam but also in many countries around the world. In fact, vaccination has helped many countries worldwide significantly reduce new Covid-19 cases every day. Therefore, Vietnam’s solution to promote vaccination to have community immunity is also a right direction, in line with the general trend of the world.
International organizations in Vietnam highly appreciate the initiative of Vietnam’s Vaccine Fund because it proves the Government’s quick adaptation. According to Dr. Kidong Park, the Representative of World Health Organization in Vietnam, the Government of Vietnam’s mobilization of resources to improve access to a Covid-19 vaccine is timely, in line with the global vaccinating initiative. Dr. Kidong Park highly appreciated Vietnam’s solidarity through contributing to the Vaccine Fund: “It is this solidarity that will help Vietnam end the pandemic. It is hoped that Vietnam will continue to be an example of a universal approach to ending the pandemic.”
Sharing the same point of view with Dr. Kidong Park, Mr. Kamal Malhotra – UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam said: “This is a good initiative which the UN has been supporting for many months now”. From the perspective of the United Nations, Mr. Kamal Malhotra said that the Vietnamese Government’s establishment of the Vaccine Fund is the right solution. The Covid-19 epidemic is considered unprecedented for more than a century, a national emergency for any country. Only the Government has capacity to coordinate this fund.
Sharing about Vietnam’s initiative to establish a Covid-19 vaccine fund, Ambassador Giorgio Aliberti – Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam said that the establishment of the fund is an important part of the overall facing strategy with Covid-19 epidemic in Vietnam. The Ambassador believes that, in this strategy, the Government of Vietnam plays a key role in mobilizing and getting various resources involved. Ambassador Giorgio Aliberti said, “This shows that the Government has fully grasped the need, and so needs to take faster steps. This is a very positive thing.”
The Vaccine Fund is a humane solution of the Vietnamese Government in epidemic prevention and control. It is to create opportunities to access vaccines to many people under the motto of “leaving no one behind”. Moreover, the Vaccine Fund is a symbol of the solidarity and unity of Vietnamese people. Each VND contributed to the Fund is not only a contribution of efforts and money but also the sharing and community responsibility of the people to the Party and Government. The rapidly increasing amount of money contributed to the Fund every day is the evidence of trust of agencies, organizations and people in the right initiative of the Government in establishing the Vaccine Fund.
The prevention and control of the Covid-19 epidemic is a long and arduous battle. The Vaccine Fund is the Government of Vietnam’s new solution to create community immunity, step by step repelling the disease and bring the safe normal life back to the people.
 According to Vietnam Television’s 19 o’clock Newsletter, June 20, 2021